Tax cuts will help Gov. Ned Lamont 2023

As Gov. Ned Lamont began his second term in January, Connecticut’s political and economic environment was ready for a bold statement.

Progressive politicians’ yearly push to boost wealthy taxes was again thwarted by multi-billion-dollar surpluses. The $3-billion budget surplus that ends on June 30 allowed Lamont to propose decreasing the personal income tax to 4.5 percent from 5 percent and spending $50.5 billion throughout the biennium.

Lamont set the tone for the legislative session, which finished with more expenditure and historic income tax cuts. In 2022, Republican leaders sought large income tax cuts, and the legislature reduced roughly $600 million that spring, leading into the statewide reelection season, which Lamont won easily, defeating Republican candidate Bob Stefanowski for a second term.

In the Democrat-dominated congressional Appropriations Committee, a $50.9 billion budget had bipartisan approval. Senate Republicans proposed a $1.5 billion tax reduction and $50.4 billion spending deal, barely beneath Lamont’s bottom line.

House Republicans presented a $50.7 billion budget with $1.1 billion tax cuts.

In the end, along with $800 million in tax cuts, Lamont supported more spending in a $51.1 billion package, ending a legislative season that ended at midnight Wednesday with many victories for the governor, who held the line against Democrats’ attempts to divert hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue and put the resulting spending away from the budget that the governor had called “gimmicks.”

It capped a 22-week legislative session in which one of Lamont’s few missteps was the failed nomination of Assistant U.S. Attorney Sandra Slack Glover, who was withdrawn amid bipartisan criticism about her lack of state courtroom experience and her support of conservative Trump nominee Amy Coney Barrett for a federal court judgeship that she later used as a springboard to the U.S. Supreme Court.

“I’m so proud of where we are here in the state of Connecticut,” Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff, D-Norwalk, concluded the Senate budget discussion on Tuesday, hours after the House’s resounding early morning approval for the plan.

“This Democratic-led bipartisan budget is laser-focused on supporting middle class and working families. On balance, we have worked hard with the governor’s office, the House, and the Senate to put together the best budget we could within the limits we have while realizing that non-profits and others are surely asking for more in the future.”

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