Lamont’s two-year, $46 billion finances takes a center path

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HARTFORD — Gov. Ned Lamont on Wednesday proposed a middle-of-the-road, two-year, $46-billion finances for a state that is still below a darkish shadow of the coronavirus, which has stifled the financial system and killed 7,300 residents.

Kicking off the state finances debate with its June 9 deadline, Lamont requested lawmakers to approve his “Connecticut’s Comeback” plan through the use of anticipated federal pandemic-relief cash to erase shortfalls of $1.3 billion in every of the following two fiscal years.

The plan would ship almost $200 million extra to cities and cities within the fiscal yr that begins July 1, principally from federal stimulus {dollars} already authorized in December. It neither provides nor cuts common state applications considerably

Lamont’s plan avoids broad-based tax will increase reminiscent of an revenue tax hike on rich residents, which the progressive wing of legislative Democrats wish to see. Lamont proposed a $90 million-a-year mileage tax on massive vans to assist pay for freeway and bridge enhancements after his tolls plan failed in 2019 and 2020.

He additionally needs lawmakers once more to withhold $377 million that was scheuled to go to cities and cities, from the final hike within the state gross sales tax. That change, together with the postponement of a smaller, scheduled enterprise tax lower, would assist plug the projected shortfalls of the following two years.

Lamont would additionally impose a wholesale tax on gasoline as a part of a Northeast regional “transportation local weather initiative.” That will ultimately elevate not less than $80 million a yr and would both elevate pump costs by not more than 5 cents a gallon, as Lamont’s finances chief contends, or by 17 cents, as Republicans insist.

Additional income would come from the total legalization of marijuana, which has not but handed the legislature; in addition to sports activities and on-line playing, which additionally has not handed, and which stay the main focus of closed-door negotiations with the 2 Native American tribes that function casinos.

“Massachusetts dispensaries are promoting extensively right here in Connecticut,” mentioned Lamont, who campaigned in 2018 on the total marijuana legalization, and mentioned the state ought to legalize “moderately than give up this market to out-of-staters, or worse, to the unregulated underground market.”

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