The Politics Of An Election-Year Budget

With the legislative session underway and Governor Ned Lamont weeks away from his budget proposal, municipal leaders are poised to lobby the governor and state lawmakers to tee up extra loot to drive into election-year budgets, especially with a $3 billion surplus projected.

For Bridgeport that means posturing for added education dollars, grants, development assistance, social network, payment in lieu of taxes on tax-exempt properties such as colleges and hospitals.

Mayor Joe Ganim will not raise taxes when he submits his budget proposal to the City Council in April. Will he cut taxes? That depends on the goodies sent down from Hartford.

Municipal budget builders craft spending plans based on what’s anticipated from the state budget. What to include is a leap of faith because the state budget process extends beyond the municipal timeline called for by the City Charter.

Bridgeport’s nine-member state legislative delegation, the largest in Connecticut, is key in the dollar flow to Bridgeport. One of its members, State Senator Marilyn Moore, announced on Tuesday another run for the mayoralty. She can position herself as a major benefactor of dough coming to the city as she makes her case to the electorate.

Ganim, of course, will do the same.

And perhaps, the other two mayoral contenders John Gomes and Lamond Daniels will argue the city’s not receiving enough for all of its social burdens.

From Keith Phaneuf, CT Mirror

Projections for state tax receipts ticked upward again Tuesday, pushing the current fiscal year’s surplus beyond $3 billion, according to a new report from Gov. Ned Lamont’s budget office and the legislature’s nonpartisan fiscal staff.

The consensus report also said surging income, sales and corporation tax receipts will give Lamont roughly $600 million in additional revenue to work with on Feb. 8 when he presents lawmakers with a new biennial budget–a package expected to recommend cuts both to income and business taxes.

“This revenue forecast will allow me to present a budget with a sustainable middle-class tax cut, pay down legacy pension debt, support education, child care programs, workforce development, new housing, essential social services, and public safety programs, as well as preserve the fiscal guardrails that have been so critical to our recent budget stability,” Lamont wrote in a statement shortly after the report was released.

Analysts increased their projections for the current fiscal year, which closes June 30, by $265 million on Tuesday. That increase, coupled with the $2.87 billion General Fund surplus the comptroller’s office estimated on Jan. 3, would leave a revised fiscal cushion of more than $3.1 billion.

That 14% surplus would be the second-largest in state history, topped only by last fiscal year’s $4.3 billion windfall.

More importantly, analysts are projecting the state’s biggest revenue engines will continue to surge during the next two-year budget cycle, despite an unstable global economy.

Full story here.


One comment

  1. Budgets come every year. Pandemics come every one hundred years.
    The politics of pandemics carry impact this year.. Both Ganim and Lamont have been beneficiaries of Federal largesse. Both politicians have discretion over millions leftover from The C.A.R.E.S. Act signed by Trump and Biden.
    It’s been good news for incumbents.


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