Following a 12-point victory at the polls this week, Gov. Ned Lamont reassured Connecticut residents that his second term would focus on encouraging economic growth and avoiding tax increases.
Lamont, a Democrat, spoke of his second-term plans during a Wednesday press conference following his win over Republican Bob Stefanowski. Expect the fiscally moderate approach he showed for most of his first term to continue, he said.
“I said probably 200 times I don’t want more taxes but I don’t mind more taxpayers and I hope everybody got my message on that and I hope everybody got my message on that and when I say more taxpayers that means growth and opportunity,” Lamont said. “Everything I do is going to be looking through that lens of growth and opportunity.”
At times during his first term the governor clashed with legislative Democrats, who sought to increase taxes on the state’s most wealthy residents or skirt around fiscal guard rails in an effort to fund spending priorities. Lamont signaled this week he would not “hedge” on revenue and spending caps.
“They helped us get this state back on track when it comes to getting our fiscal house in order,” Lamont said. “Basically it says you’re not going to spend more than what you can count on in terms of revenues. I think it’s served us very well and I am going to be asking the legislature to continue that going forward. It gives us a clear sense of direction.”
Lamont did say he was considering an extension to the 25-cent gas tax holiday, which he and the legislature adopted earlier this year in an effort to provide relief from soaring inflation rates. The gas tax suspension will expire on Dec. 1 unless lawmakers convene a special session in order to extend it.
“I gotta see what we can afford. We’re going to model this out and if gas goes up 25 cents, what does that mean we can do in terms of a gas tax cut? If it goes down what do we need to do to make sure I have enough money to fix our roads and bridges,” Lamont said. “Right now I think we’re in decent shape but I’d like to sit down with the legislature, how we can continue a gas tax cut beyond Dec. 1.”