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Lawmakers to scrutinize CT's spending caps in upcoming legislative session

Connecticut State Capitol
Molly Ingram
/
WSHU
Connecticut State Capitol

Connecticut is experiencing a budget surplus. And lawmakers say adjustments to fiscal guardrails will be the most contentious proposal on their agenda for the legislative session that begins on Wednesday.

Democrats will push to adjust the spending caps and guardrails because the state’s budget reserve has grown from near zero in 2017 to almost 18%, while spending on education and social programs have stagnated, said State Senate President Martin Looney.

He spoke at a news briefing with advocates seeking a $160 million increase in funding to Connecticut State Colleges and Universities.

“If your apartment is too warm or too cold, you adjust the thermostat, you don’t throw out the furnace. So, we are just talking about adjusting the thermostat here, but not radically changing the framework of government,” Looney said.

Gov. Ned Lamont's State of the State speech will kick off the legislative session on Wednesday and is expected to include proposals to increase state funding for childcare, workforce development and housing. But they’ll stay within the fiscal guardrails that were adopted by bipartisan agreement in 2017.

“We set in place guardrails. We voted on that almost unanimously. Let's keep to what we said we were going to do,” said Lamont, while previewing his proposals at a recent Connecticut Business and Industry Association event.

That’s a position supported by the Republican minority.

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.