Connecticut gov jabs Georgia counterpart over reopening plan, says massage parlors are not essential

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Connecticut Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont told "The Story" Wednesday that he is working to reopen essential businesses in his state, drawing a contrast with Georgia Republican Gov. Brian Kemp, who plans to reopen gyms, massage parlors, and nail salons as soon as this Friday.

"We are opening those things that are essential and we are opening those things where you can social distance. A massage parlor is neither here in Connecticut," Lamont said. "We did [plan to reopen] manufacturing. We have done big outdoor construction and yes, we did do marinas along with neighboring governors ... [we're] making sure that you can do that in a safe way. That’s what we’re doing as we move into the spring,"

THE CORONAVIRUS OUTBREAK, STATE-BY-STATE

Lamont joined host Martha MacCallum shortly after President Trump told reporters during the daily coronavirus briefing that he "disagrees strongly" with Kemp's reopening plan.

"I think that the president is surrounded by smart health care professionals and he does better when he listens to them," Lamont said. "And obviously what the governor of Georgia was doing ran counter to everything that the ... task force had recommended. I am really glad that the president stood up and said that."

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Lamont also responded to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., who told "Bill Hemmer Reports" earlier Wednesday that he has no plans to pass legislation to provide additional federal funding to state and local governments who he said are trying to "take advantage" of the coronavirus crisis to get help with their ballooning deficits.

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"Thanks, Mitch," Lamont said sarcastically. "Look, governors on both sides of the aisle know how important it is that they get some federal funding. Our revenues have collapsed. In the last recession, we lost the income tax and in this recession, COVID- related, we lost income tax and sales tax."

"If you want the economy to come back in strength," Lamont added, "you don’t want states to have to slash spending and then raise taxes. I don’t want that to happen in Connecticut. I want the economy to get going again."

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Lamont said his state had allocated nearly 15 percent of its budget "as a rainy day fund" which should help them get through this next fiscal year and maintain their cash balance. While his state remains "in decent shape right now," the governor expressed concerns looking ahead to the start of the state's 2021 fiscal year July 1.

"We don’t have to go and do any borrowing. In terms of the next fiscal year, July 1 going forward, we have to see how fast we can get our economy going," he said. "Honestly, when you have no revenues coming in and these expenses accelerating, that’s a problem."