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Lamont proposes tax relief in budget address, Republicans call it ‘election year gimmicks’

Gov. Ned Lamont is promising tax relief as part of his budget proposal for next fiscal year. Lamont delivered his State of the State address Wednesday at the Capitol in Hartford. In it, he called for property tax reform, a cap on car taxes and the elimination of taxes on 401(k) and pension income for most households.

“Stay in Connecticut and watch your grandkids grow up in your living room rather than waving to them from a Zoom room in Delray, Florida,” Lamont said.

Minority Republicans took quick aim after the speech. Senate Minority Leader Kevin Kelly said that while his party is “sympathetic” to tax relief, Lamont’s tax plan is more of a tomorrow plan.

“We are also mindful that the middle class today is struggling — they have a 40-year high in inflation — and so, relief must be present today, too,” Kelly said. “That’s why a sales tax cut is better because it brings that relief to all taxpayers now.”

Bob Stefanowski, a Republican running against Lamont in November’s gubernatorial election, sent an email to reporters criticizing the speech. Stefanowski characterized Lamont’s tax relief plans as an “election year gimmick.”

“I agree with the Governor that people need property tax relief, but they needed it three years ago when he took office, not just now when he’s looking for their votes again,” Stefanowski said. “People see through these election year gimmicks.”

Democrat Matt Ritter, the speaker of the state House of Representatives, says it’s not about politics.

“No, it’s something we can do because we can afford it because we’ve been disciplined in prepaying our long-term liabilities and increasing the rainy day fund,” Ritter said.

Connecticut’s rainy day fund, which Lamont says he won’t tap into for this budget, stands at $1.48 billion. Lamont’s budget proposal sets the stage for lawmakers as they get to work.

Frankie Graziano is the host of The Wheelhouse, focusing on how local and national politics impact the people of Connecticut.

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