News From Kevin Lembo

COMPTROLLER LEMBO PROJECTS $1.87 BILLION DEFICIT AS ECONOMIC DISPARITIES PERSIST

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                  THURSDAY OCTOBER 1, 2020

Contact: Tyler Van Buren
              (860) 702-3325
              tyler.vanburen@ct.gov

Comptroller Kevin Lembo today, in his monthly financial and economic update, projected a deficit of $1.87 billion for Fiscal Year 2021, noting disparities in the effects of the ongoing pandemic.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has been universally disruptive but not everyone is feeling its effects equally,” said Comptroller Lembo. “Data continues to show that job losses are concentrated in low-wage industries. As federal assistance has disappeared, millions are facing housing and food insecurity and the rates of each are higher for Black and Latino households.”

Illustrating these disparities, Connecticut’s housing market had a very strong month with significant increases in new listings, sales and median price for single-family homes. The average time on the market decreased by eight percent from the same period last year. Yet a recent study by the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities shows 17 percent of American renters report being behind on their rent payments, including 25 percent of renting households with children.

Lembo repeated his call for additional federal aid for Connecticut residents, including housing and food assistance as well as reinstatement of the $600 weekly supplemental unemployment benefit.

“Families in Connecticut and across this country are experiencing hardship through no fault of their own and the situation could get worse before it gets better,” said Lembo. “The relief programs offered so far have worked. Now is no time to abandon those who need help the most.”

In a letter to Gov. Ned Lamont, Lembo noted that Connecticut’s revenue picture has improved slightly since last month’s forecast but data is still limited at this point in the fiscal year and continued budgetary caution is required. After Fiscal Year 2020 closed with a small budget surplus, the state’s Budget Reserve Fund (“Rainy Day Fund”) reached its statutory cap in September and will serve as an important resource in weathering continued economic uncertainty.

“The economic shockwaves of the pandemic are still rippling through all sectors of the economy,” said Lembo. “I’m confident that Connecticut will emerge stronger on the other side, but it will take a focused and collaborative effort to stabilize state finances and protect our most vulnerable residents.”

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