PROJECTConnecticut

State Fiscal Briefs

May 2022

Looking for Connecticut data related to the pandemic? We have health, economic, and fiscal data on our new tool, How the COVID-19 Pandemic is Transforming State Budgets.

Connecticut’s budget basics

According to the National Association of State Budget Officers (NASBO), Connecticut’s total expenditures in fiscal year (FY) 2021 were $35.7 billion, including general funds, other state funds, bonds, and federal funds. NASBO reported that total expenditures across all states in FY 2021 were $2.7 trillion, ranging from $4.7 billion in Wyoming to $512.8 billion in California.

Each state allocates spending and taxes differently among different levels of governments, and local governments often administer programs with state funds, so combined state and local government data show a more complete picture of individual benefits and contributions when comparing states.

Per the US Census Bureau, Connecticut’s combined state and local direct general expenditures were $35.8 billion in FY 2019 (the most recent year census data were available), or $10,031 per capita. (Census data exclude “business-like” activities such as utilities and transfers between state and local governments.) National per capita direct general expenditures were $10,161.

Connecticut’s largest spending areas per capita were elementary and secondary education ($2,846) and public welfare ($1,122). The Census Bureau includes most Medicaid spending in public welfare but also allocates some of it to public hospitals. Per capita spending is useful for state comparisons but is an incomplete metric because it doesn’t provide any information about a state’s demographics, policy decisions, administrative procedures, or residents’ choices.

Connecticut’s combined state and local general revenues were $44.5 billion in FY 2019, or $12,466 per capita. National per capita general revenues were $10,563. Connecticut uses all major state and local taxes. Connecticut’s largest sources of per capita revenue were property taxes ($3,215) and federal transfers ($2,514).

Connecticut’s politics

Governor Ned Lamont, a Democrat, was elected in 2018 with 49 percent of the vote. The next gubernatorial election is in 2022.

Democrats control both the House of Representatives (96 Democrats to 54 Republicans) and Senate (23 Democrats to 13 Republicans). Control of the governor’s mansion and each house of the legislature gives Democrats a trifecta in Connecticut. The entire legislature is up for election in 2022 because both representatives and senators serve two-year terms.

Connecticut’s budget institutions, rules, and constraints

Connecticut uses a biennial budget. The legislature must pass a balanced budget, but it can carry a deficit into the following year. State spending growth is limited further by the average growth in personal income. The rule is binding and thus requires a legislative supermajority or vote of the people to override it. However, the state does not have any supermajority requirements for raising revenue or passing a budget. On top of these rules, the state limits its authorized debt.

(Note: Some states have informal budget institutions that constrain overall spending growth or a specific expenditure’s growth.)

Connecticut’s current budget

Governor Lamont released his FY 2023 budget adjustment proposal (the state uses a biennial budget) and gave his state of state address in February 2022.

Connecticut enacted its fiscal 2022-2023 biennial budget in June 2021. The enacted budget included general fund spending of $20.8 billion in FY 2022 and $21.7 billion in FY 2023.

Under the American Rescue Plan, Connecticut will receive $2.8 billion in direct state fiscal aid and $1.4 billion in local government aid from the federal government. As of January 2022, Connecticut had spent part of its state ARP funds on revenue replacement, economic development, refilling its unemployment insurance trust fund, health programs, and education spending. Governor Lamont also used ARP funds to temporarily increase the state’s earned income tax credit from 30.5 percent of the federal credit to 41.5 percent.

According to NASBO, Connecticut’s recent expenditure totals (general fund spending/total spending, including federal transfers) were:

  • FY 2021: $20.1 billion/$35.7 billion

  • FY 2020: $19.2 billion/$34.0 billion

  • FY 2019: $19.2 billion/$34.4 billion

For more on Connecticut’s budget, see