On the opening day of the short 2022 legislative session, Governor Ned Lamont unveiled a $24 billion budget proposal that includes tax cuts, financial help for entrepreneurs, more funding for mental health services, and new staff to oversee the state’s plans for spending billions of dollars in anticipated federal infrastructure funding.
“Three years ago, we were standing at the edge of a fiscal cliff, facing a $3.7 billion budget deficit, and today we are deciding what taxes to cut or school programs to grow, thanks to our third consecutive year of budget surpluses,” Lamont told state lawmakers.
Lamont credited the state’s improving fiscal situation, boosted in part by a massive infusion of federal pandemic-relief funds, with enabling him to propose tax reductions this year. He has called for increasing the local property tax credit against the income tax, speeding up the planned pension and annuities exemption, and lowering a cap on local car taxes, among other changes.
LDAC’s main priorities for the session are repealing the highway use tax and allocating money to the Unemployment Compensation Fund. Our eyes are on the state’s 25-member Moderate Democratic Blue Dog Caucus, which is in support of our positions on both of these issues.
The state group, which was formed last year, is modeled off of its federal counterpart: the Blue Dog Coalition, a caucus in the United States House of Representatives comprised of members from the Democratic Party who identify as centrists or conservatives. The federal caucus professes an independence from the leadership of both parties and promotes national defense.
Connecticut co-chairs Rep. Pat Boyd (D-Pomfret) and Rep. Kerry Wood (D-Rocky Hill) released a statement on February 4 on behalf of Caucus members, urging fiscal restraint.
“Now is not the time to increase the tax burden on the residents and businesses of the state of Connecticut,” the two said in the statement. “As a coalition, we are urging the Governor and our legislative colleagues to hold the line on taxes, take advantage of federal COVID relief funding, use caution when spending the rainy day fund, and continue to pay down our unfunded pension liabilities, which is the perennial burden on our budget process.”
Connecticut’s Blue Dog Caucus offers promising developments at the Capitol. Notably, its members were instrumental in killing predictive scheduling in the 2021 legislative session.
On our end, we will continue to work diligently with every receptive legislator to ensure your voice is heard.