Gov. Ned Lamont opened the 2021 General Assembly session Jan. 6 by calling for 2021 to be "the year of the Connecticut comeback."

"Two years ago, I said I do not want our state defined by a chronic fiscal crisis, which had been our norm and was sapping our confidence," he said in a recorded address to newly sworn-in legislators.

State-of-the-state: Gov. Ned Lamont addressed the legislature in recorded remarks.

"Today, I don't want our state to be defined by a COVID crisis—instead, I want this to be the year we changed the narrative of Connecticut."

Lamont used the traditional state-of-the-state address—typically delivered to a joint session of the legislature—to acknowledge the pandemic's impact on the state and to applaud frontline healthcare workers, first responders, and essential workers.

"The next year will continue to be a challenging time for our state and nation, but I have never been more optimistic about our future," he said.

"Through our shared values and commitment to one another, we will rise above this crisis and build a better tomorrow. Today is the first day of Connecticut’s comeback story."

Tax Hikes?

In recent months, the governor has publicly resisted calls from legislative Democrats for tax hikes and his speech noted that position in passing.

"In these turbulent economic times, we are well positioned to fund our critical services without draconian cuts or broad tax increases," he said.

While the governor did not address specific details of his policy agenda—that will come next month when he presents his proposed two-year budget—he did outline some of his priorities.

"Sports betting, internet gaming, and legalized marijuana are happening all around us," he said. "Let’s not surrender these opportunities to out-of-state markets or even worse—underground markets.

"In this coming year, we will be expanding our commitment to affordable housing, access to broadband, transit-oriented development, open choice school incentives, as well as an expansion of our workforce development and small business growth fund.

"That’s how we get Connecticut growing again, and working for all of our families."

The governor is scheduled to speak about his plans to close the projected two-year, multi-billion dollar budget deficit, rebuild the economy, and streamline state government operations at CBIA's Jan. 22 Economic Summit + Outlook conference.

Rebuilding Connecticut

CBIA president and CEO Chris DiPentima welcomed the governor's message, noting it aligned with the organization's Rebuilding Connecticut policy agenda.

"I liked that he called this the year of Connecticut's comeback," he said.

"We agree that now is the time to take advantage of the opportunities we have, to reimagine what Connecticut might look like—to become stronger and better than we were before the pandemic.”

"Now is the time to take advantage of the opportunities we have, to reimagine what Connecticut might look like."

CBIA's Chris DiPentima

DiPentima said he looked forward to hearing the administration's detailed proposals for rebuilding the state's economy in the wake of the pandemic.

"This was meant as a high-level vision of what we need to do to move forward," he said.

"The policies and the budget address will provide the details."