Gov. Ned Lamont talks about his state budget proposals

Budget battle - who is benefitting from tax cuts
Published: Apr. 19, 2023 at 6:53 PM EDT|Updated: Apr. 20, 2023 at 11:26 AM EDT
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HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) - Connecticut is in strong financial shape but there are restrictions on the money to spend.

Gov. Ned Lamont scheduled a news conference on Thursday at 11 a.m. to talk about his state budget.

Lawmakers released their budgets this week. Governor Ned Lamont unveiled his in February.

People will be getting a break, but it all depends on how you much make.

“They are talking about tax cuts, everybody is talking about tax cuts,” Lamont said.

Both Lamont and the Finance Committee are proposing tax cuts.

Lamont’s plan is broader based, allowing some form of a tax break for families earning up to $590,000 a year.

The Finance Committee has a lower threshold of up to $400,000.

The more you make, the less of a break.

Connecticut has a large surplus and rainy-day fund but also has fiscal guardrails in place to limit spending.

“They’re moving a lot of spending off budget, which is contrary to what the guardrails are all about,” Lamont said.

Lawmakers are proposing giving cities and towns $400 million.

“This is an effort to address real budgetary issues and need and who knows if we will end up doing it but it should be on the table,” said Rep. Maria Horn (D – Finance Committee Chair).

There’s another proposal which has sparked some controversy: eliminating personal income taxes in several cities with significant amounts of low-income families.

Horn sees this as a way to help those families, however the money would be borrowed and put on the state’s credit card. The governor said he doesn’t like tax breaks based on zip codes.

That proposal was put forth by Sen. John Fonfara who is running for mayor in Hartford, one of the cities that would benefit.

“Do you think this is politically motivated?” Eyewitness News asked.

“You can draw that conclusion Susan. I think there are obviously people with a vested interest in seeing this go forward,” said Rep. Holly Cheeseman (R – Finance Committee).

We did reach out to Fonfara to get more details on his proposal, but he has not responded.

As for the budgets and tax cuts, the governor will be negotiating with lawmakers. The goal is to get a budget voted on before the end of the session, which ends June 7.

Meanwhile, the finance committee has been meeting behind closed doors regarding tax cuts.

Lawmakers said they are faced with crafting a 2-year state budget.

Lamont released his plan in February. Connecticut has a large surplus and rainy day fund, and Lamont promised tax cuts.

The finance committee’s budget also included tax cuts. They specifically reduced the amount for lower income families who earn up to $20,000 and middle class up to $100,000.

The earned income tax credit would also be increased to 45 percent, and the business corporate tax will sunset in 2025.

Lawmakers approved a spending cap which requires paying down pension debt.

The appropriations budget, which came out Tuesday, had far less money for the University of Connecticut, no wage increases or benefits for caregivers, and free school lunch, which the governor extended until the end of the school year will not be as permanent as many were hoping.

“These meals affect families. Families felt there were more economically secure when they had universal school meals”, said Lucy Nolan from School Meals 4 All CT.

“With these record surpluses – I think we need to be much more aggressive in what we give back to the average Connecticut taxpayers”, said finance committee Representative Holly Cheeseman.

None of this is final, lawmakers and the Governor will have many conversations and make changes before the general assembly has to vote on the final budget.

Eyewitness News 6 p.m. Monday - Friday.