state budget

Small Budget Surplus Projected for Conn. Despite COVID

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Despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Connecticut appears on track to end the current fiscal year with a surplus, according to new figures released Friday.

State officials previously predicted the state budget could be about $2 billion in deficit, because of the business shutdowns earlier in 2020 to help stop the spread of infections, coupled with the subsequent job losses.

“Portions of our state’s economy have continued to perform thanks to the resilience of our residents, robust federal support, and smart and strategic state investment,” Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont said in a statement.

The revenue projections reached by the governor’s and the General Assembly’s budget offices project the fiscal year, which ends June 30, will have a $70 million surplus. Democratic House leaders noted the data indicates that the revenue generated by sales and income taxes are growing at 5%, something they said hasn’t happened in more than a decade.

“This is incredibly positive news,” said House Speaker Matt Ritter, D-Hartford. “Mid-year consensus revenues are certainly not the final numbers upon which we craft a budget, but this is an important snapshot of where the state is heading.”

He said he expects the numbers to improve further after the full impact federal stimulus legislation is felt in Connecticut.

Republican leaders who represent the minority party in the General Assembly agreed the latest figures are good news, but urged caution as they craft a new two-year state budget in the coming months.

“Small businesses are shutting their doors, unemployment remains high and we still have billion-dollar out-year deficits,” said Senate Minority Leader Kevin Kelly, R-Stratford, in a statement. “We must resist the urge to raise taxes and continue to reduce the cost and size of government. We must make Connecticut more affordable for middle class families.”

There have been nearly 1,900 new confirmed or probable cases of COVID-19 in Connecticut since Thursday, while the number of COVID-associated deaths increased by 41 to 6,594. Hospitalizations decreased by 20 patients, to a total of 6,594. As of Thursday, the seven-day average occupancy rate for adult intensive care unit beds was nearly 61%.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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