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It May Be Bumpy, But Lamont Sees 'A Path Forward'

Feb 20, 2019
Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public Radio

Gov. Ned Lamont cast his first budget proposal Wednesday as “a path forward,” a map for a wealthy state struggling to wriggle free of a crushing pension debt amassed over decades, end crippling cycles of deficits and spark economic growth.

Lamont Presents $43 Billion, Two-Year Plan To Legislators

Feb 20, 2019
Gov. Ned Lamont delivered his first budget address to the legislature on February 20, 2019.
Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public Radio

Gov. Ned Lamont proposed a $43 billion, two-year state budget Wednesday that establishes tolls, shifts more pension debt onto future taxpayers, deals another blow to hospitals, but also closes a multi-billion dollar shortfall without raising the income tax.

Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public Radio

The honeymoon period is over for Gov. Ned Lamont. When he delivers his state budget address to lawmakers later on Wednesday, there will already be plenty of animosity among those watching.

Lamont Seeks Giveback From Future State Retirees

Feb 19, 2019
Gov. Ned Lamont gives his first State of the State address.
Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public Radio

Gov. Ned Lamont will seek concessions that could reduce pension benefits to future retired state employees by more than $130 million per year — a move that was immediately met with resistance Tuesday from union officials.

Connecticut legislators are getting ready for state budget talks, and one proposed tax cut is getting support from surprising sources. Some Democrats in the General Assembly support repealing the estate tax.

PAUL BASS / NEW HAVEN INDEPENDENT

New Haven Police Chief Anthony Campbell's recently announced plans to leave the department has brought the city's budget woes into focus, as well as its contentious brand of politics.

The police department is down to 395 officers, Campbell told city alders earlier this week. That's 100 less than called for in the department's 2019 fiscal year budget, he maintained.

Getty Images / Pool

President Donald Trump's State of the Union address Tuesday night was full of contrasting tones. Like when he endorsed national paid family leave for new parents, and then just seconds later, called for legislation banning late-term abortions.

Today, we break down his speech, and how well it went over or didn't go over with Congressional Democrats.

Updated on Jan. 23 at 6:45 p.m. ET

The Senate is set to consider two competing proposals Thursday that could reopen the government — but probably won't.

Republicans are planning a vote on President Trump's proposal to end the stalemate. But Democrats are reiterating that his offer — with $5.7 billion for a border wall in exchange for temporary protections for those under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and temporary protected status programs — is a nonstarter, meaning there's no realistic end yet in sight for the shutdown.

As the standoff between President Trump and Congress continues over funding for Trump's proposed border wall, the partial shutdown of the federal government means workers will go weeks without a paycheck. That has some looking for temporary jobs to pay their bills.

In Boise, Idaho, Chris Kirk says he's worked for the federal government for 19 years. He administers contracts for the hundreds of millions of dollars the U.S. Forest Service spends on fighting wildfires. But these days he's on furlough and looking for extra income.

Ned Lamont Finally Is 'In The Room Where It Happens'

Jan 9, 2019
Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public Radio

Connecticut’s new governor showed himself Wednesday to be affable, straightforward, optimistic, playful — and even slightly goofy — in his first address to the General Assembly, promising a collaborative approach to rebranding a state down on itself.

Updated at 1:25 p.m. ET

The ongoing government shutdown didn't stop the Justice Department's public affairs office from issuing statements this week about cases involving America's Southern border.

Officials in Washington, D.C., instructed field office workers on Dec. 21 that the public affairs unit would "only issue press releases to the extent it is necessary to ensure public safety or national security, such as a terrorist attack or something of similar magnitude."

Governor Dannel Malloy speaks at a ceremony for a new parking garage built at the State Office Building in Hartford in December 2018.
Frankie Graziano / Connecticut Public Radio

As the state prepares for a new governor to take office, one of outgoing Gov. Dannel Malloy’s ongoing challenges will become Ned Lamont’s problem: the state budget.

With no deal in sight to keep the government funded, hundreds of thousands of federal employees will either not be returning to work after holiday vacations or will be back on the job but without pay.

President Trump reiterated Tuesday that he is in no mood to compromise over funding for a wall along the southern border, and Democrats who oppose the measure are showing no signs of budging either.

The partial shutdown of the U.S. government that began Saturday affects about a quarter of the government. About 800,000 federal workers will feel the effects as lawmakers try to come to an agreement on a set of spending bills to keep the government funded.

A central sticking point remains funding for President Trump's proposed border wall, and with the Senate adjourned until Thursday, there is no apparent quick end in sight.

Updated at 10:15 p.m. ET

The threat of a partial government shutdown this weekend may be diminishing.

The Senate passed a short-term measure Wednesday night to keep the federal government open into 2019. The House is expected to take up the bill on Thursday. Funding currently expires at midnight on Friday.

Lamont's Administration Begins To Take Shape

Dec 5, 2018
CTMirror.org

Governor-elect Ned Lamont on Tuesday announced two team captains who will be tasked with helping him confront huge state budget deficits and Connecticut's tarnished business climate.

For his chief of staff, Lamont picked Ryan Drajewicz, an executive from Westport-based hedge fund behemoth Bridgewater Associates. His budget chief will be Melissa McCaw, currently the head of the city of Hartford's Office of Management, Budget and Grants.

From left, Oz Griebel, Bob Stefanowski, and Ned Lamont at a recent debate at UConn.
CTMirror.org

With the nation transfixed on the revelations pouring out of Washington, D.C., how much remaining brain capacity do voters have for Connecticut's governor's race?

It's undoubtedly hard to compete for attention against news cycles dominated by edge-of-your-seat histrionics that could shape the direction of the U.S. Supreme Court for a generation. So this week we set out to bring state politics back into focus.

Connecticut Has A Surplus - For Now

Aug 20, 2018
Office of Policy and Management Secretary Ben Barnes
Chion Wolf / Connecticut Public Radio

State government’s new budget year is off to a healthy start, but there’s good news and bad news in the numbers.

CHION WOLF / CONNECTICUT PUBLIC RADIO

Layoff notices went out Wednesday to 37 New Haven school staff members in the face of a budget deficit.

Most of the pink slips went to guidance counselors. Also laid off were several classroom teachers, library media specialists, and physical education teachers.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

Employment and health care top the list of issues concerning Connecticut voters, according to a recent poll.

Ryan Caron King/Lori Mack / Connecticut Public Radio

With just three weeks before the August 14 Democratic and Republican primaries, taglines and sound bytes are all the rage in the governor's race. Positions on a substantive issue? Not so much.

Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public Radio

This hour, we learn about a new online series about "extreme inequality" in Connecticut.

We also look at trends in white shark activity off the coast of Cape Cod.

But first, an update on hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico. How well-equipped are the island and its residents to face a possible next storm?

Michelle Lee / Creative Commons

Connecticut's General Assembly officially wrapped up the legislative session at midnight Wednesday. In this short session, lawmakers passed bills that ban bump stocks, offer relief for homeowners with crumbling foundations, allow qualified undocumented college students access to a form of financial aid, and give a cost of living raise to nonprofit social service workers. 

Chion Wolf / WNPR

With a Wednesday deadline looming, Democratic leaders in the General Assembly say they are hopeful a bipartisan agreement can be reached on the second year of the two-year budget. Leaders of both parties are meeting in the first cross-party talks Tuesday.

Bridgeport Casino, Hartford Debt Aid Complicate Connecticut Budget Talks

May 4, 2018
Connecticut State Capitol
Jim Bowen / Creative Commons

With just five days left in the legislative session, a stubborn wrinkle is complicating efforts to craft a new state budget: regional politics.

Chion Wolf / WNPR/Connecticut Public Radio

With Jonathan Harris dropping out of the governor's race and throwing his support behind Ned Lamont, the stars seem to be aligning for the Greenwich cable television entrepreneur to capture the Democratic Party's endorsement at its May 18-19 state convention.

MOODBOARD / THINKSTOCK

As state budget cuts have left cash-strapped towns and cities looking for ways to recoup revenue, several nonprofit organizations have been denied their tax-exempt status.

Harriet Jones / Connecticut Public Radio

Last fall, President Donald Trump announced that he wanted the federal government to stop funding the National Endowment for the Arts. Reaction to that proposal was swift and bipartisan -- and in fact, in the budget that passed last month, there’s not a cut, but a tiny increase in arts funding. 

Thomas Macmillan / New Haven Independent

New Haven’s proposed city budget is being criticized by an independent commission. According to the city, they’re looking to close a $14.4 million deficit to keep the budget in balance for the next fiscal year. But the Financial Review & Audit Commission, an independent body appointed by the mayor, says they’re way off.

Chion Wolf / Connecticut Public Radio

The system that oversees private special education schools in Connecticut needs an overhaul, according to a recent state audit. About 3,000 students with severe needs are currently placed in these schools, mostly at the expense of public school districts.

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