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Lamont says Connecticut is flush with cash and prepared for possible recession

Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont at the Home for the Brave in Bridgeport, on June 13, 2022
Ebong Udoma
Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont at the Home for the Brave in Bridgeport, on June 13, 2022

Connecticut is flush with surplus cash and ready to weather any possible recession, according to Governor Ned Lamont.

The strong U.S. job numbers released for June have eased concerns about an imminent economic downturn. But if one were to happen, Connecticut is in good shape, Lamont said.

The state ended its fiscal year last month with a $7 billion budget surplus. Enough money to pay its unfunded pension obligations by $3.7 billion and have $3.3 billion left for the rainy day fund — the highest in state history.

“I think that puts us in a much better position to handle what could be a downturn at the end of this year and early next year,” Lamont said.

"Taxpayers can be assured that the state would be able to handle a recession without having to raise taxes or cut social services," Lamont said. “We’ve got a budget that’s projected to be able to maintain our commitments there without any cuts for the next two or three years.”

The large pension paydown means the state’s pension payments would be reduced by about $450 million a year for the next 25 years.

Connecticut Republicans have criticized the Democratic governor for celebrating that the state is flush with enough cash to weather a recession.

They say some of the money in the rainy day fund should be spent on reducing taxes to help working families.

Lamont disagrees.

“The rainy day fund is there in the face of recession to make darn sure I don't have to raise anybody's taxes or slash spending. I think this is a buffer, it's a cushion, it's the smart thing to do for the people,” Lamont said.

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.