What happened to Connecticut Governor Lamont’s “debt diet”... if there ever was one?
Lamont is running for reelection claiming credit for fiscal restraint.
Yet, since Ned Lamont took office, Connecticut’s long-term borrowing has increased from about $25 billion to $27 billion. Moreover, after issuing $1.2 billion of new bonds already this year (see below), the state is officially scheduled to issue another $1.3 billion of new bonds this fall. In addition, Lamont and crew have committed to issue $175 million of Community Investment Fund bonds as well.
What kind of diet is that?
Lamont’s claim of engineering a fiscal turnaround of the state couldn’t be further from the truth. That is not necessarily to say that he has mismanaged affairs, but rather to say that he has had virtually nothing to do with the factors which have improved the state’s standing… improvement which will only be temporary.
Three factors have been at play. The federal government has showered the state with Covid assistance money; the roaring bull market in stocks and bonds through December 2021 has produced a gusher of tax revenue from the state’s large population of wealthy investors; and, finally, automatic fiscal restraints adopted in 2017 before Lamont took office have limited spending.
Lamont was simply lucky at being there as governor as the three trends coincided.