After maintaining its 97-54 majority in the House of Representatives, the Democratic caucus selected Rep. Matt Ritter to serve a second term as speaker and Rep. Jason Rojas to serve a second term as majority leader.
The new legislative session starts on Jan. 4, 2023.
In addition to every member getting a pay raise to $40,000 a year, the 2023 legislative session will start with the legislature having its full power back. Starting in 2020, the body gave Gov. Ned Lamont broad powers to oversee the state during the COVID-19 pandemic.
As the pandemic situation has changed daily, Lamont had been willing to exercise the additional authority to change the law of the land in almost real time. When the virus tore through the state and tested hospital capacities in the spring of 2020, the governor initiated a lockdown and mandated public health orders aimed at slowing its spread.
But in accepting a second term, which will need to be voted upon by the full House of Representatives, Ritter focused on the fiscal health of the state.
“Jason and I worked closely with Republican leadership, our Senate counterparts and the governor to ensure we moved important legislation forward. In the end, our primary job is the state budget and I am very proud of the responsible budgets we have produced over the past two years,” Ritter said.
According to recent numbers released Thursday by fiscal analysts the state is poised to end the fiscal year with a $2.8 billion surplus. That’s about $571 million projected when the budget was passed in May.
That comes after last year’s surplus of $4.3 billion.
Much of Connecticut’s fiscal success can be traced back to the 2017 bipartisan budget deal, which was partly brokered by Ritter when he was House majority leader and House Minority Leader Vincent Candelora, who at the time was a deputy minority leader.
That budget deal put in place several budgetary caps that restrict how the state is allowed to spend its money.
On Wednesday, Lamont said he had no plans to spend the surplus.
Lamont signaled this week he would not “hedge” on revenue and spending caps even though it’s likely more progressive members of the Democratic Party will encourage him to do so.