HARTFORD, CT — After convening shortly before 9 p.m. the state Senate unanimously approved bills to close this year’s $317 million budget deficit and to guarantee certain state agencies receive the necessary funds to pay their obligations.
The deficit mitigation bill, which still needs to be approved by the House, would transfer about $93.4 million from various off-budget accounts to the general fund and would use about $$222.5 million in the Rainy Day Fund to balance the budget.
It’s estimated the state will end the fiscal year on June 30 with a $1 million balance.
Debate on the bill, which was negotiated by both Republicans, Democrats, and members of Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s administration, lasted less than 15-minutes.
The vote came hours after Malloy and Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman sent lawmakers a note reminding them to resolve this year’s budget deficit as quickly as possible. The two recommended adopting the Senate Republican proposal, which is essentially the one they adopted.
“Any cuts so late in the fiscal year are difficult to absorb. But together, lawmakers were able to revise the governor’s proposed budget changes to protect towns and cities, privately raised funds contributed to state parks, and programs for individuals with disabilities,” Senate Republican President Len Fasano, R-North Haven, said.
Senate President Martin Looney, D-New Haven, said the bipartisan vote ensures Connecticut will end this fiscal year with a balanced budget.
The Senate also gave final passage to a deficiency bill, which allows the transfer of money from the fringe benefit account to certain programs that overspent their budgets.
The bill, which was approved last week by the House, appropriates a total of $19.5 million to five agencies. It goes to Malloy for his signature.
Kelly Donnelly, a spokeswoman for Malloy, applauded passage of the legislation.
“It is encouraging that the Senate has heeded the call for passing a deficit mitigation package alongside a deficiency bill,” Donnelly said. “The sooner we are able to balance the current fiscal year, the sooner we can turn our full, collective attention to developing and adopting a responsible biennium budget that delivers more predictability and stability for Connecticut taxpayers, businesses and municipalities.”