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October 15, 2019Cart

Business

by Fairfield County Business Journal
by FCBJ

Lamont signs $43.4 billion budget; Fasano derides it as ‘sham’

Gov. Ned Lamont signed Connecticut’s $43.4 billion, two-year budget into law on June 26, but not without criticism from the Republican opposition.

“On the day I took the oath of office, we were looking at a $3.7 billion deficit, and today I am proud to say that we’ve closed it without an increase to tax rates and while ensuring that the safety net remains intact for the most vulnerable in our communities,” Lamont said. “For years, instability in the state’s finances has resulted in slow growth and volatility in our economy – and this budget was adopted with a focus on providing the foundation from which our state can grow. When the fiscal year closes, Connecticut will have the largest rainy day fund in history and this budget maintains and grows our reserves, providing reliability and predictability for our taxpayers, businesses, and those looking to invest in our state well into the future.”

The budget closes a projected deficit of $3.7 billion over two years and calls for spending increases of 1.7% in the first year and 3.4% in the second year.

It also repeals the $250 business entity tax paid every two years by most businesses, while increasing the filing fees for limited liability companies and limited liability partnerships.

The budget includes a new tax of 2.25% on homes that sell for more than $2.5 million. Sellers remaining in Connecticut can retrieve the conveyance tax through credits on their state income tax.

Earlier in the day Senate Minority Leader Len Fasano derided the budget as a “sham,” due largely to its inclusion of $180 million in income taxes, which were not included in the “consensus revenue” estimates that the state must use when calculating the budget. Democrats’ estimates included adjusted anticipated growth in income tax receipts from paycheck withholdings, raising the estimates from 4% to 5.5%, an estimated $90 million, in each of the next two fiscal years.

Republicans say those calculations violate the consensus revenue proviso that has been in place since 2009.

Fasano also took issue with the governor for signing the budget without a public ceremony.

“It’s no surprise the governor is running to sign this budget as quick as he can before even more problems come to light,” he said. “He’s signing it behind closed doors with no fanfare whatsoever because this is not a budget to be proud of. It doesn’t balance. It’s gimmick-laden. The whole document is a sham.”