Governor releases budget with no big surprises
Legislature’s virtual budget carries on
Good news on COVID-19 numbers
Sen. Blumenthal to visit with CRMA via Zoom next week
News from around the state

  • In what can only be described as a legislative session like none other, Governor Lamont completed his constitutional duties to “deliver” a two-year budget to the Connecticut General Assembly on Wednesday.
  • His budget address was done via Zoom, and was broadcast at the same time that some Committees of the General Assembly were holding public hearings; something that would normally NEVER take place.
  • We have some more information about the budget below, but the big take-away for retailers and the rest of the business community, the Governor did not propose any broad-based tax increases to fund the government or to close any budget gaps.
  • Rather, the Governor and his budget team will rely primarily on a combination of increased federal funding, passage of a controversial recreational marijuana proposal and adoption of on-line sports gambling which will require that he work out a deal with the State’s two Federally recognized tribal nations.
  • In other words, it might not be so smooth to get everything he wants passed, and as you will see below, he is already drawing criticism in some corners.
  • For CRMA, we are pleased to see the Governor start off in this place – no broad-based tax increase – and we hope he and the General Assembly will hold to that during the remainder of the budget debate.
  • We know that will require that we keep a constant eye on the budget proposal as it works its way thru the legislative process and keep you updated on the twists and turns of this debate.


More on the Governor’s budget announcement.

  • As we mentioned, the Governor, in a virtual budget address, announced his $46 billion proposal for the next two fiscal years, and his priorities.  Fox 61 has the story here.
  • Debate over the Governor’s proposed budget began almost immediately at the State Capitol, as urban Democratic lawmakers raised questions regarding his plans in education, health care and economic opportunity.  CT Mirror has that story here.
  • Taxes on recreational marijuana sales would help fund Connecticut cities and towns under Gov. Lamont’s two-year budget.  CTNewsJunkie has those details here.
  • The Governor’s budget also relies on about $300 million in labor savings, which is less than certain, given the immediate reaction from the State Employees Bargaining Agent Coalition.  CT Mirror’s Keith Phaneuf has the story here.
  • Gov. Lamont’s proposed “mileage tax,” projected to raise $90 million a year for the state’s transportation fund, has quickly drawn opposition from the Motor Transport Association of Connecticut.  CT Post has the response here.
  • Video of the Governor’s Budget Address can be seen here.


COVID-19 Update.

  • Yesterday, the Governor held another press briefing on the status of the COVID-19 virus in our state and he reported some good news.
  • He indicated that Connecticut’s overall numbers were looking very good, with the positivity rate the lowest since early October. In addition, the number of people hospitalized for COVID has dropped as well.
  • The Hartford Courant’s Emily Brindley does a great job giving us an update on where CT’s stands with the virus. You can go here to see her story.
  • With numbers dropping and more vaccines becoming available, CRMA remains in constant contact with key folks on the Governors team about lifting some of the current restrictions that are in place.
  • We hope that some new adjustments will take place and we will report those to you as soon as we hear them.
  • Gov. Lamont urged Connecticut residents age 65 and up to be patient about getting the COVID vaccine, with additional doses expected in the state next week.  The Associated Press reports on the Governor’s comments here.
  • A legislative proposal has been introduced to honor Connecticut residents who have died during the COVID-19 pandemic by constructing a memorial in a state park.  The Hartford Courant hast the story here.
  • New and limited data from the Connecticut Department of Public Health suggests there are racial disparities in the administration of the COVID-19 vaccine in the state.  The Journal Inquirer reports that story here.


U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal to visit with CRMA members.

  • Next Friday, February 19th at 9:30am, CRMA will be hosting a virtual Retail Town Hall with U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal via Zoom.
  • Sen. Blumenthal will provide updates on efforts in Washington for further COVID relief aimed at businesses, and the latest developments on key issues impacting the retail business community.  And he will want to hear directly from retailers about your concerns and priorities.
  • We will send out details about this event early next week, but we encourage you to mark your calendar for this meeting and please join us.


News and notes from around the state.

  • The U.S. Senate committee overseeing education approved the nomination of Connecticut’s Miguel Cardona to become Secretary of Education.  After the 17-5 vote, the nomination next goes to the full U.S. Senate.  CT Mirror reports on the vote here.
  • Governor Lamont announced additions to the state’s online business portal – – including a business dashboard and resource center.  The announcement can be seen here.
  • CRMA member Amazon will be a new tenant in the massive Manchester warehouse that is best known for longtime tenant JC Penney.  The Hartford Courant has the news here.
  • A group of legislators is looking to fund college tuition to lessen student debt with money raised from new forms of legalized gaming.  CT Examiner has the latest here.
  • Democrats Muad Hrezi and Andrew Legnani are preparing campaigns to challenge 12-term U.S. Rep. John Larson in the First Congressional District.  It would be the first time that Larson is challenged for the Democratic nomination since he was first elected in 1998.  CT Post has the story here.
  • In the 2nd Congressional district, covering Eastern Connecticut, Republican state Rep. Mike France has emerged as an early challenger to eight-term Democratic Congressman Joe Courtney in the 2022 midterm elections.  The New London Day reports the news here.
  • Here is a fun fact that was went to us by a faithful reader and an iconic retailer in CT:
  • A surprising common thread thru many of the commercials seen during Sunday’s Super Bowl – the legendary Toad’s Place entertainment venue in New Haven. 
  • Seven people featured in ads seen during the game have played Toad’s during their career – Cardi B, Drake, Bruce Springsteen, Eddie Murphy, John Cena, Queen Latifah and Post Malone. 
  • Congrats to Toad’s Place. A great CT retailer!