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A picture tweeted by Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy of sunrise outside the Senate chamber, just after the vote on the American Rescue Plan.
Courtesy: Sen. Chris Murphy

The passage of the massive $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan will give a boost to Connecticut’s chances of emerging from the pandemic without major fiscal damage, according to the Lamont administration.

Courtesy: City of New Haven

New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker this week unveiled two city budget proposals: One assumes increased funding from the state and Yale. The other assumes no such additional support, instead balancing the budget with a big tax increase, layoffs and the closing of a library, firehouse and senior center. On All Things Considered, the mayor talked about how the budget pressures his city is facing has him imploring Yale and the state to help out.

The first people are brought in as the City of Hartford’s Department of Health and Human Services hosted a COVID-19 vaccine clinic for Hartford residents 75 and over at Dunkin’ Donuts Park in Hartford, Connecticut on February 06, 2021.
Joe Amon / Connecticut Public

The pandemic has put public health in the spotlight across the world. But in the United States local public health departments have been chronically underfunded, and Connecticut is no exception.

This hour, we hear from a local health director about the challenges public health departments in Connecticut are facing, even as the state celebrates high vaccination rates compared with other states.

And, we look beyond the pandemic: what should the public health workforce of the future look like?

Connecticut Budget Debate Heats Up Quickly Over Equity

Feb 14, 2021
Yehyun Kim / CT Mirror

Urban Democratic lawmakers attacked Gov. Ned Lamont’s new budget proposal Thursday, charging the two-year package does little to nothing to reverse long-standing gaps in education, health care and economic opportunity.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

As Gov. Ned Lamont rolls out his budget proposals for the coming biennium, education funding seems poised to become a battleground. Lamont wants to freeze the state’s contribution to public schools, the pot of money called Education Cost Sharing, or ECS. Instead, he would boost districts by using federal coronavirus funds. And that’s raising alarm among educators and advocates.

Lamont Leans Heavily On Federal Aid To Keep Taxes Flat In Connecticut

Feb 10, 2021
File photo of Gov. Ned Lamont and his budget adviser, Melissa McCaw. Both met with the Senate Republicans.
Mark Pazniokas / CTMirror.org

Gov. Ned Lamont proposed a two-year, $46 billion budget Wednesday that relies on federal funding and state reserves to close a major deficit without significant tax hikes while bolstering aid for municipalities and school districts.

But the package also leaves Connecticut with several budget challenges to be resolved in the not-so-distant future.

Gov. Ned Lamont described his proposed budget as a reflection of Connecticut’s shared values, an assessment certain to provoke dissent among progressives demanding tax equity and non-profits seeking higher reimbursements for a range of services delivered by front-line workers.

MATT DWYER / CONNECTICUT PUBLIC RADIO

In the first half of the show, Connecticut Mirror budget reporter (and budget guru) Keith Phaneuf previews Governor Ned Lamont's 2-year state taxing and spending plan. The proposal is being released later today. In the short term, things are better than they appeared back in the spring. But the state still faces a fiscal slog in the long term.

In the second half of the show, UConn Professor Christopher Vials considers lessons learned from four years with Donald Trump in the oval office. American democracy survived, but is it in worse shape than it was four years ago? Is a second impeachment the right path for the country?

Gov. Ned Lamont
Joe Amon / Connecticut Public

Gov. Ned Lamont will propose a lean, $46 billion, two-year budget Wednesday that relies heavily on federal aid and state reserves to close a major deficit without tax hikes and bolsters funds for cities and towns.

Analysts: Lamont, Lawmakers Face $4.3 Billion Gap In Next Two-Year State Budget

Nov 20, 2020
Gov. Ned Lamont (right) and Democratic legislative leaders announcing their budget deal in 2019, Lamont’s first year in office.
Mark Pazniokas / CTMirror.org

State officials are facing almost $4.3 billion in red ink in the next two-year budget, due largely to the coronavirus-induced recession, according to a new report Friday from nonpartisan analysts.

Those deficits, while daunting, are significantly less imposing than the massive shortfalls Connecticut faced after the last recession in 2011 — gaps that forced a record-setting tax hike of nearly $1.9 billion nine years ago.

Lamont’s Plan To Close $2B Deficit Could Be To Tap CT’s $3B Rainy Day Fund

Oct 1, 2020
File photo of Gov. Ned Lamont and his budget adviser, Melissa McCaw. Both met with the Senate Republicans.
Mark Pazniokas / CTMirror.org

Gov. Ned Lamont owes legislators a plan Thursday to close a whopping $2 billion budget deficit.

Joe Amon / Connecticut Public

Despite protests from community members and a proposal from two of its members to cut $9.6 million from the police budget, the Hartford city council voted Wednesday night for a $2 million reduction and reallocation of police funds. 

Lamont To Cancel Tax Relief, Seek Labor Savings To Close $2B Deficit In July

May 1, 2020
Gov. Ned Lamont
Tyler Russell / Connecticut Public

Gov. Ned Lamont warned Friday he will cancel tax relief and impose $400 million in emergency spending cuts to mitigate the multi-billion-deficit projected for the upcoming fiscal year.

theater closed sign
Corey Doctorow / Creative Commons

Three and a half million dollars. That’s the estimated negative economic impact of the coronavirus on Connecticut’s arts and cultural organizations, according to a new survey.

New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker
Tucker Ives / Connecticut Public Radio

In his first budget proposal as mayor of New Haven, Justin Elicker is proposing a tax hike for residents, cuts to vacant positions, a restructuring of city departments and a plea to Yale. 

An F-35B fighter jet, the U.S. Marine Corps variant of the F-35 from the Marine Corps Air Station in Yuma, Ariz., flies into Luke Air Force Base Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2013, in Goodyear, Ariz.
AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin

The Trump administration told Congress on Thursday that it plans to divert money from the F-35 program, the National Guard, and other weapons programs to fund his border wall, drawing condemnation from Connecticut lawmakers.

Lori Mack / Connecticut Public Radio

New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker released his transition team’s report Tuesday outlining the city’s goals.

The report includes 10 areas of concentration ranging from education, public safety and climate change to housing, immigration and arts and culture. 

Frankie Graziano / Connecticut Public Radio

A state audit requested by a leading Republican lawmaker revealed that funds meant to support workers present at the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting did not go where they were supposed to.

Adam Hushin / Connecticut Public Radio

Transparency related to a board tasked with overseeing a partnership between the state, a billionaire hedge-fund manager, and his wife is still an issue for lawmakers, even as that board gets together for the first time.

Lamont: Prepared Food Tax Hike Will Be Narrowed In Scope

Sep 17, 2019
Mark Pazniokas / CTMirror.org

Gov. Ned Lamont announced Tuesday he expects the new sales tax surcharge on prepared foods will be scaled back — and applied to a narrower range of items — before it takes effect on Oct. 1.

Senate Dems Say Tax Officials Inflated Prepared Foods Levy

Sep 17, 2019
Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff, D-Norwalk and Senate President Pro Tem Martin M. Looney, D-Haven.
CT Senate Democrats

Senate Democrats backed away Monday from the new sales tax surcharge on prepared foods, saying Gov. Ned Lamont’s administration made it far broader in scope than lawmakers intended.

Lori Mack / CT Public Radio

After three years, the city of New Haven and the police union have finally reached a contract agreement.

Police union members on Friday overwhelmingly approved the contract by a vote of 259 to 13, after ongoing negotiations, and then a binding arbitration process. New Haven Mayor Toni Harp said part of the goal is to retain recruits and attract new police officers to the city. 

Ng Han Guan / Associated Press

Some state officials already have balked at the decision to exempt a public-private partnership investing millions of dollars in Connecticut’s struggling schools from disclosure and ethics laws.

But it turns out the first $20 million in public funds Gov. Ned Lamont and the legislature dedicated to this venture also won’t be subject to the new budgetary spending cap enacted just two years ago. 

Lamont: Conn Will Get Extra Income Tax Receipts Built Into New Budget

Jun 25, 2019
Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public Radio

Gov. Ned Lamont and his budget director defended their decision Tuesday to build $180 million in extra income tax receipts into the new state budget, with Lamont offering assurances the money will flow as planned into the state’s coffers. 

Connecticut State Capitol / Wikimedia Commons

At midnight, the Connecticut General Assembly ended its regular session on time--and with a new two-year budget.

This hour, we look at what lawmakers accomplished and what’s still left on the table. Mark Pazniokas, Capitol Bureau Chief for the Connecticut Mirror, will join us with more.

The Wheelhouse: A Deep Dive Into The State Budget

Jun 5, 2019
Frankie Graziano / Connecticut Public Radio

With more than 24 hours to spare, the legislature's Democratic majorities on Tuesday evening delivered a two-year state budget to Gov. Ned Lamont. It doesn't raise income taxes on the rich, or deplete Connecticut's rainy day fund.

So then, just how does the $43.4 billion plan add up? And how were enough lawmakers brought on board to get it across the finish line?

A Tale Of Two Budgets: Senate Dems Back Plan Over GOP Objections

Jun 4, 2019
Frankie Graziano / Connecticut Public Radio

It was a tale of sharp contrasts Tuesday as the Senate gave final approval to a new $43.4 billion, two-year state budget. Majority Democrats hailed it as a historic plan that averts a big deficit without raising income tax rates, makes key investments in education and health care, and promotes long-term fiscal stability. But Republicans painted it as a sloppy blueprint that overtaxes businesses and consumers, spends and borrows recklessly, leaves Connecticut with no viable long-term transportation building program, and skirts the legal requirement of a balanced budget. 

From left, Rep. Livvy Floren, Rep, Vincent Candelora, and GOP staffer Pat O'Neil review documents as budget debate continues.
Mark Pazniokas / CTMirror.org

The House of Representatives approved a new state budget late Tuesday that averts a major projected deficit without increasing income tax rates, but does shift billions of dollars in pension debt onto the next generation of taxpayers.

Lawmakers Hope To Adopt Budget Monday That Avoids Another Income Tax Hike

Jun 3, 2019
Chion Wolf / WNPR

Legislators opened the session’s final week Monday expecting to pass a new state budget that keeps income tax rates flat, expands the sales tax and raises levies on prepared foods, e-cigarettes, plastic bags, alcoholic beverages and the sale of expensive houses. 

Budget Deal Struck, Doesn't Contain Tax Hike On Wealthy

May 30, 2019
Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public Radio

Gov. Ned Lamont and Democratic legislative leaders announced a tentative, two-year $43 billion budget deal Thursday that does not contain the income tax hike on the wealthy sought by progressives in the General Assembly. Despite this, House Majority Leader Matt Ritter predicted that liberal Democrats would back the package. 

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