Lamont seeks giveback from future state retirees

February 20, 2019

Gov. Ned Lamont will seek concessions that could reduce pension benefits to future retired state employees by more than 131 million next fiscal year and 50 million from these initiatives in the first year of the governor’s new budget, and 1.5 billion in deficit in the 2019-20 fiscal year. The potential gap grows to 1.3 billion this fiscal year — is projected to spike between now and the early 2030s, peaking at anywhere between 6.2 billion.

The projection for next fiscal year’s contribution is 209 million.

But Lamont also hopes to shrink the bill both for the state and for municipalities.

The governor is working with state Treasurer Shawn Wooden to restructure annual contributions into the fund in the coming decades. In other words, the contribution still would rise into the early 2030s, but not as sharply. After that the contribution would drop, but not as rapidly as currently projected.

Full details of that plan weren’t available Tuesday. But Lamont said the overall contribution to the teacher’s pension will drop 189 million less than originally projected in 2020-21.

“The plan to restructure payments into the Teachers’ Retirement System represents a new road map for Connecticut’s fiscal future and stability, while minimizing the impact on taxpayers,” Wooden said. “It also will allow scarce resources to be directed to the right priorities like economic growth, education and infrastructure that can move our state forward.”

Malloy originally proposed in February 2017 that municipalities cover one-third of all teacher pension costs, recommending an initial collective bill of 292 million next fiscal year and $505 million in 2020-21.

Lamont already has said he would eliminate the partial exemption for digital downloads. And while he didn’t release a full list of goods and services that no longer would be exempted, he said “most other exemptions currently on the books” would go. Examples he listed range from horse-boarding and boat storage to campsite rentals.

The administration had researched eliminating the sales tax exemptions on groceries and prescription medications, but decided to leave them in place.

Keith M. Phaneuf is a reporter for The Connecticut Mirror (www.ctmirror.org). Copyright 2019 © The Connecticut Mirror.