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In State of the State Address, Lamont Stresses “Connecticut’s Comeback”

  • Governor Ned Lamont kicks off Connecticut’s 2021 legislative season with an optimistic look at the state
  • Address stresses regional efforts, health care, and incoming residents
  • Lamont also addresses ongoing small business grant programs and progress toward a $15-an-hour minimum wage

Governor Ned Lamont struck an optimistic tone in a virtual “State of the State” address to kick off Connecticut’s 2021 legislative session, calling on it to “be the year we changed the narrative of Connecticut” and stage a “Connecticut comeback.”

Bidding “good riddance” to 2020, Lamont said Connecticut is “well-positioned to fund our critical services without draconian cuts or broad tax increases” despite the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic. He says this will allow the state to borrow money at low interest rates and less cost to taxpayers.

Lamont says he intends to build on the regional efforts with neighboring states that were spurred by the pandemic, hoping to “implement more effective and less expensive solutions” to build a zero-carbon electric grid, enable stronger protections against cyberattacks, and support the growth of electric vehicles. The governor also said Connecticut should pursue initiatives that have already been taken up in surrounding states, including sports betting, internet gaming, and the legalization of recreational marijuana use.

The address referenced Connecticut’s commitment to a $15-an-hour minimum wage, with Lamont saying many minimum wage workers proved to be essential workers during the pandemic. Connecticut’s minimum wage is currently $12 an hour, and is scheduled to scale up to $15 an hour on June 1, 2023. Lamont has rejected suggestions to put a hold on minimum wage increases due to the pandemic.

Lamont said the state is continuing to oversee grants to small business programs, citing restaurants and hospitality businesses in particular. There was strong demand for a $50 million small business grant program, and the state has also launched a new $35 million grant program.

The address also stressed the importance of affordable health care, referencing the state’s new family and medical leave program, and said the state is continuing to emphasize “best-in-the-nation schools and workforce development.” Lamont said Connecticut scores well in rankings for raising a family, public safety, education, and other quality of life issues, and that these qualities as well as the urban exodus occasioned by the pandemic have brought thousands of new residents to Connecticut.

Other areas where Lamont said the state has made commitments included:

  • Affordable housing
  • Access to broadband
  • Transit-oriented development
  • Open school choice incentives
  • The expansion of Connecticut’s workforce development and small business growth fund

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