State news

Gov. to put Conn. on 'debt diet' to reduce long-term debt service payments

Governor Ned Lamont will be presenting a budget to lawmakers on February 20th. He told municipal leaders and legislators at a Waterbury Chamber of Commerce event today that they won't like his proposal, but they shouldn't wait until June to dislike it, and to not like in March so they can get an agreement done on time.

Lamont is proposing to shrink the state’s borrowing by 39 percent, the equivalent of hundreds of millions of dollars annually.  He referred to it as a self-imposed “Debt Diet” to reduce long-term debt service payments and potentially save the state as much as $2 billion over the next decade.  Between 2012 and 2019, Connecticut averaged $1.59 billion worth of bond authorizations per year. Governor Ned Lamont’s proposed budget will scale that back, bringing annual bond authorizations to $960 million – a reduction of 39 percent.  Lamont says he won't put Connecticut's future on the credit card.

Lamont, who serves as chairman of the state Bond Commission, has canceled the January and February scheduled meetings of the group.  He said the state should limit its bonding agenda to critical needs only and at levels that are within the state’s financial ability to pay.

Lamont plans to adjust and reprioritize the capital budget, which typically includes large scale projects such as school construction and other major infrastructure upgrades.  This will not affect any projects currently under construction.  Governor Lamont plans to continue investments in transportation infrastructure by matching the authorization levels over the last eight years, and will request new authorizations for municipal projects to serve as catalysts for growth and a stronger investment in information technology to bring the state’s aging IT infrastructure into the 21st century.

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