Breaking Down the State Budget Process

April 21, 2023

We are more than halfway through the regular session, and this is the time of year when legislative activity picks up in the Connecticut General Assembly.
After weeks of holding public hearings, the Finance, Revenue, and Bonding Committee and Appropriations Committee approved their budget proposals (Appropriations handles the spending side and Finance handles the revenue side). 
I’m proud to sit on the Appropriations Committee, where we are still hearing and deciding on bills that will affect the budget and policies that will impact spending over the next two years in our great state. We heard from many state agencies and advocacy groups hoping the budget surpluses experienced in the last few years would equate to increased spending for the causes and concerns they represented.

However, in 2017 the legislature enacted bi-partisan fiscal guardrails, including a spending cap. The spending cap limits what can be spent and has resulted in the healthiest Rainy Day Fund in our state’s history and significant payments toward our unfunded pension liabilities. In turn, Connecticut’s financial outlook is vastly improved and our interest costs have come down significantly as our investment ratings have been improved. The result, however, is that this budget still leaves many needs unmet and many groups hoping for changes and increased spending to support their concerns. 
The next step is negotiations and compromise. Legislators will work with the governor and his staff to craft the final budget agreement, and efforts are underway to explore increasing our spending capacity while respecting and benefiting from the fiscal guardrails that have set us on an improved financial path. After rounds of negotiations, the budget bill then goes before the House and Senate for consideration. After both chambers pass the proposal, the governor must sign the final budget into law before the end of the fiscal year, June 30.
Take a look at the graphic below for a glimpse of the budget process timeline.

I will keep you posted as we bring the budget bill to the floor to be debated and voted on in the coming weeks.