Gov. Ned Lamont opened the 2022 legislative session Wednesday on a high note of optimism – declaring in his State of the State Address that Connecticut is rebounding from years of large budget deficits, businesses moving out of state, and bond ratings downgrades. As he faces re-election this year, Lamont said the state is stronger than when he started in 2019. The proposed $24.2 billion budget represents a 2.4% increase. The expenses would remain $5.6 million below the annual spending cap – a level set by both Republicans and Democrats in a bipartisan agreement in 2017. The biggest single factor in helping the budget for the next two years is the huge influx of money from the federal government. The 2022 session will be one of the shortest in state history – based on the schedule set forth by the state constitution and the vagaries of the calendar. The session’s Feb. 9 starting date is the latest in the past 22 years.