'Sobering': Lamont lays out economic cost of COVID-19 on Connecticut
Gov. Ned Lamont said today that the COVID-19 crisis will leave Connecticut billions of dollars in the red. Though Lamont says there will be no tax hike for now, the economic impact could sting.
"The numbers are sobering," said Lamont as he explained that Connecticut will end the budget year almost $1 billion in the hole. The number doubles for the next cycle, which begins in July.
"That's reflective of the timing it takes for individuals in the state to become re-employed, the timing and recovery of businesses reopening," says Melissa McCaw, of the Connecticut Office of Policy & Management.
The state has a rainy day fund, but it won't be enough. While there are no planned tax hikes yet, Lamont plans to ask state labor unions for more concessions.
"I'm not sure we'll be able to offer a lot of new tax cuts or a lot of new spending increases, but we're going to do the best we can with the situation," says Lamont.
Lamont also says Connecticut's highway fund could go broke in just one year. Higher gas taxes could be on the horizon, and there's the possibility the debate over tolls could come back.
"I think I'm going to work collaboratively with the Legislature to see what we can do about our special transportation fund," said Lamont. "We've got a year to do it, and we ought to do it right and we ought to do it together."
State lawmakers expect to hold a special budget session in June. By then, they may get some extra help from Washington.
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