Lamont Outlines Budget, Policy Goals for 2024 Session

01.20.2024
Gov. Ned Lamont speaks at CBIA Economic Summit+Outlook
Economy

“Let’s keep to what we said we were going to do.”

That was the message from Gov. Ned Lamont to more than 430 business leaders at CBIA’s 2024 Economic Summit + Outlook Jan. 18 in Hartford. 

Lamont shared a preview of his policy goals for the upcoming legislative session, highlighting the importance of the state’s fiscal guardrails that have helped Connecticut’s budget stay in the black.

“We have a pretty good budget, we did this together, we set in place guardrails, we voted on that almost unanimously,” he said, noting that will be his message when he presents his budget plan to the legislature in February.

Fiscal Guardrails

Lamont said the fiscal guardrails, which were unanimously extended by the General Assembly last session, have helped the state pay down its pension debt.

“We still have a long way to go,” he said. “Let’s face it, we’re still on the bottom of you know, 15%, but that’s a lot better than where we were before.”

Lamont noted that there will be adjustments in the budget, but said those adjustments will not raise the top line. 

“I like where Connecticut is, compared to our peers, “he said. 

“We have a lot less margin for error than we did the last few years because the budgets are tightening up in our state and around the country. 

“But I’m really pleased that we’re in the black. I’m pleased that we have a relationship with a legislature on both sides of the aisle. 

“We seem to be able to get a budget that’s honestly in balance, a budget that’s on time going forward, and a budget that gives each and every one of you some certainty that you know where this state is going. And that’s what I try and do.”

Workforce Development

Lamont highlighted the need for workforce development, and making sure employers have the trained workforce they need.

“Anything I can do to lift people up, give them the job skills they need is absolutely invaluable,” he said.  

During the summit, Lamont announced the launch of a new website designed to make it easier for people to find jobs in Connecticut.

“I’ve got to make it easier for each and every one of you who are trying to hire.”

Gov. Ned Lamont

The jobs.ct.gov site features:

  • Job search tools
  • Job search tips and personal help
  • Free and low-cost training, certificate, and classroom programs

The site also includes resources for employers to help them hire, train, and retain employees. 

“I’ve got to make it easier for each and every one of you who are trying to hire each and every person looking for a job to make that happen,” he said.

CBIA president and CEO Chris DiPentima said the website is a way to help solve the labor shortage crisis.

“An easier front door for jobseekers is exactly what is needed to better connect supply and demand, especially for those who are disconnected from the labor force, unemployed, or underemployed,” he said.

Childcare

Lamont said childcare is another key focus of his administration for the upcoming session .

Lamont’s Blue Ribbon Panel on Childcare developed a strategic plan for an accessible, equitable, high-quality, and affordable childcare system for all families in Connecticut. 

The panel is composed of early childhood providers, policymakers, community leaders, and business leaders including DiPentima.

“We’re making the biggest commitment to daycare and childcare in the history of the state.”

Lamont

“We’re making the biggest commitment to daycare and childcare in the history of the state,” he said. 

“What that’s allowed us to do is have a higher percentage of our working age population working than other states.” 

Housing

Lamont said one of the biggest pieces of the budget is housing. 

“Every single business I talked to tells me the same thing,” he said. “‘I’d like to expand here. I’ve got to make sure A—I’ve got the workforce, and B—there’s housing for the workforce.”

Lamont said his administration is doubling down on the amount of investment in housing, particularly for transit-oriented development.

“We have a lot of people wanting to move into this city in this state.”

Lamont

He said he wants to use the model of the Capital Region Development Authority across the state.

The CRDA provides low-interest gap financing to help projects get “over the finish line.”

“We’ve got a lot of empty office buildings around here,” Lamont said. ”But we have a lot of people wanting to move into this city in this state.”

Economic Momentum

He noted that nearly 58,000 people moved to the state last year.

“That’s not true of Massachusetts, New York, and New Jersey,” he said.

He said the number of new startup businesses shows that people are doubling down on their local communities.

“I want everybody who can work to be able to get back to work. That’s how we continue to keep our economic momentum going.” 

Lamont

“In order for us to keep that economic growth and momentum going, that’s going to be what housing is,” he said.

Lamont said addressing issues like workforce, housing, and childcare can’t be done in silos. 

“These are the types of initiatives we’re doing to make it easier for people to get back to work,” he said. 

“I want everybody who can work to be able to get back to work. That’s how we continue to keep our economic momentum going.” 

Tags:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Stay Connected with CBIA News Digests

The latest news and information delivered directly to your inbox.

CBIA IS FIGHTING TO MAKE CONNECTICUT A TOP STATE FOR BUSINESS, JOBS, AND ECONOMIC GROWTH. A BETTER BUSINESS CLIMATE MEANS A BRIGHTER FUTURE FOR EVERYONE.