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Lamont delivers upbeat State of the State address

Ned Lamont
Jessica Hill
Associated Press
Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont delivers the State of the State address during opening session at the State Capitol, Wednesday, Feb. 9, 2022, in Hartford.

Governor Ned Lamont delivered an upbeat state of the state address to Connecticut lawmakers on Wednesday. The state is financially better off than when he took office three years ago, he said.

The Democrat is a first-term governor seeking reelection. When he came into office the state was facing a $3.7 billion deficit, he reminded lawmakers. Now the state has had a budget surplus for the third consecutive year.

With tax revenues up and the state receiving a lot of federal money in COVID relief, Lamont is proposing tax cuts.

“This year my budget cuts taxes for working- and middle-class families. We are also holding down the cost of health care, child care and college tuition, making Connecticut more affordable for everyone,” he said.

And for the first time in years, the state has tens of thousands of job openings. That’s why he’s asking for more money for workforce development.

“This investment will train up to 10,000 students and job seekers this year alone, in courses designed by businesses around skills they need,” Lamont said.

In response to the increase in violent crime, the governor wants to go after illegal guns, appoint more judges and provide funding for new prosecutors and public defenders. Money for community-based juvenile crime prevention programs would also be needed.

These programs give kids a friend, some hope and a purpose. That’s the best anti-crime strategy in the world,” he said in an apparent push back on Republicans who have called for more law enforcement.

Lamont also urged lawmakers to approve extending a few of his pandemic executive orders. They are to expire next week. That would be the first contentious issue lawmakers will vote on this session.

As WSHU Public Radio’s award-winning senior political reporter, Ebong Udoma draws on his extensive tenure to delve deep into state politics during a major election year.