February 12, 2019

Lamont promises to cut borrowing by 39%

Photo | Flickr via Doug Kerr
Photo | Flickr via Doug Kerr
Despite an estimated 39 percent cut to state borrowing, Gov. Ned Lamont said his first proposed state budget will continue making key transportation investments.
Photo | Twitter via Waterbury Regional Chamber
Gov. Ned Lamont speaking Tuesday at the Waterbury Regional Chamber's annual Legislative & Economic Summit.

Gov. Ned Lamont continued previewing his first proposed budget to business leaders on Tuesday morning as he promised to shave Connecticut's borrowing by 39 percent.

Lamont, slated to present a two-year budget to the General Assembly on Feb. 20, said the self-imposed "debt diet" is aimed at cutting long-term debt payments, which could save the state up to $2 billion over the next decade.

"We cannot put Connecticut's future on the credit card," the governor said Tuesday at a Waterbury Regional Chamber meeting at the Wyndham Southbury hotel. "The state has had a problem putting costs on Connecticut's credit card that it simply can't afford to pay."

From 2012 to 2019, Connecticut annually authorized an average of almost $1.6 billion worth of general obligation (GO) bonds.

Lamont said his biennium spending plan will "reshape and stabilize" the state's finances by capping general obligation bonds at $960 million. That represents a 39 percent, or nearly $600 million, decrease in borrowing compared to debt allocations under former Gov. Dannel P. Malloy's administration.

"To trim costs down the road, we have to reduce our bloated capital spending starting right now," he said.

Lamont's announcement comes two months after the State Bond Commission, during Gov. Malloy's final meeting, overwhelmingly approved tens of millions of dollars for numerous infrastructure projects across the state.

Under the adjustments to the state's capital budget, Lamont suggested large projects tied to school construction or other major infrastructure upgrades could be impacted.

Projects currently under development will not be affected, Lamont said, adding that key transportation investments will continue matching allocations authorized by the former administration over the last eight years.

Lamont, who will chair State Bond Commission meetings, has cancelled the group's January and February meetings in a move to limit bond spending.

Read more

Lamont tells CT to expect lean spending, sales tax expansion

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