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Connecticut Democrats back earned income credit expansion despite GOP opposition

The Connecticut state Capitol building in Hartford.
Danielle Wedderburn
The Connecticut state Capitol building in Hartford

Connecticut Democrats have backed Governor Ned Lamont’s expansion of the state’s earned income tax credit. Lamont will use $75 million in federal coronavirus relief by executive order to pay for the boost to the tax credit.

He said the funding is another way to get the state’s economy back on track.

“It rewards work and it goes to folks absolutely most in need,” Lamont said. “Ninety-seven percent of them have a family with kids, so I do think it’s the right thing to do.”

Senate President Martin Looney, a Democrat of New Haven, said the funding will stimulate the state’s economy.

“Every dollar that comes in is spent,” Looney said. “People will live a little bit less in terror of having the check engine light in their car come on, because they might be able to set aside a little bit for a car repair, or be able to do without standing bills or get current on their rent if they’re falling behind.”

More than 200,000 households will receive $377 on average in late February.

Families of four are eligible if they earn up to $54,000. Couples with three or more children earning up to $57,000, are eligible.

House Minority Leader Vincent Candelora, a Republican of North Branford, opposes the plan. He said the governor continues to pursue headlines rather than bring the changes needed to stabilize Connecticut’s future.

Republicans want to cut the state sales tax and suspend a surcharge at restaurants.

Democrats plan to unveil their own tax proposal when the legislative session starts Feb. 9, including reforms to the earned income tax credit.

Mike Lyle is a former reporter and host at WSHU.