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December 17 -- The New Federalism
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HomeSpotlight Story | Bird’s Eye View | Budget & Taxes | Politics & Leadership | Governors | Hot Issues | Once Around the Statehouse Lightly
Higher-than-forecast income tax receipts leave CONNECTICUT on pace for a nearly $250 million budget surplus, state comptroller Kevin P. Lembo said this week in a regular monthly forecast. Lembo projected the Constitution State’s $19 billion General Fund will close June 30 with a $245.7 million surplus. He said job gains in recent months have boosted income tax collections. Gov.-elect Ned Lamont (D) has said he doesn’t want to tap into the surplus, preferring that the state retain its reserves as a safeguard against the next recession. Legislative leaders, however, have said lawmakers will likely at least discuss the possibility of spending some of the reserve. (CONNECTICUT MIRROR)
In his final budget, retiring SOUTH DAKOTA Gov. Dennis Daugaard (R) is suggesting lawmakers boost spending by $53 million, mostly on education, state worker pay and Medicaid. Gov.-elect Kristi Noem (R) will use Daugaard’s final budget as a blueprint, but will make her own proposals. She has said she doesn’t anticipate major differences in the plan she’ll present to lawmakers in their coming session. Daugaard recommended a General Fund budget of just under $1.7 billion for the coming fiscal year starting July 1. (ASSOCIATED PRESS)
If KENTUCKY’S Supreme Court strikes down a bill that made state pension benefits more austere, Republican leaders in the Bluegrass State legislature say they’ll likely put forth a new bill to relieve its shortfall. The new law passed this past spring did away with defined benefit pensions for future teachers and lowered the guaranteed rate of return in 401(k)s for other state workers, among other changes. Its passage led to large protests in Frankfort, and the new rules aren’t in effect because they’ve been blocked by court challenges. A Supreme Court decision on the case could come any time. Republican lawmakers and Gov. Matt Bevin (R) say changes are needed to deal with the Commonwealth’s $37 billion unfunded pension liability. (WFPL RADIO [LOUISVILLE]).
Legislators in INDIANA are criticizing Gov. Eric Holcomb (R) for not consulting them on how to spend a $1 billion windfall from the renegotiation of a toll road lease. Holcomb this past fall unilaterally laid out plans for spending the money, including using $600 million of the extra cash to speed up the completion of Interstate 69 through the state. Most of the money is earmarked for transportation infrastructure improvements under Holcomb’s plan, though some would go for rural broadband access. Lawmakers from both parties meeting this week ahead of Indiana’s upcoming legislative session criticized Holcomb for designating the money for spending without legislative input. “There has to be some legislative oversight,” Senate Appropriations Chairman Ryan Mishler (R) said, adding lawmakers will discuss what they may be able to do about it. (ASSOCIATED PRESS)
-- By SNCJ Correspondent DAVE ROYSE