In a House Session that ended close to midnight Wednesday February 24th the Republicans and Democrats reached across party lines today and voted for the latest deficit mitigation plan, needed to bridge a $1.2 billion budget hole in the state’s budget for this fiscal year. Rep. Terrie Wood of Darien voted for the plan. Rep. Wood said, ” I am pleased that we all worked together and created out a deficit mitigation plan that is generally palatable to both parties and goes a long way in closing the deficit for this fiscal year.”The mitigation plan for the current budget year, which ends June 30th includes:
- Reductions of some $9 million of General Fund appropriations to specific agencies and state contracts; reductions of executive branch expenses for contracts by $50 million;
- Transfers of some $200 million in unallocated funds and accounts to the general fund;
- No cuts in state aid to cities and towns;
- No tax increases and makes only limited use of the state’s rainy day fund;
- Establishing a commission to review possible mergers in state agencies;
Changes in ConnPACE, the state’s prescription drug plan that will both save seniors money in prescription drug costs and the state in ConnPACE funding by making use of federal dollars.
In addition, the bill expands the beverage container redemption law to include water bottles.
An earlier version of the bill would have made cuts to municipalities special education funding and local bridge repairs. On further reflection, both sides of the aisle realized these cuts would cause more harm than good and agreed the budget should not be balanced at the expense of our towns, cities and school districts, most of which were counting on these state revenues to fund existing projects and programs.
Rep. Wood said, “I am satisfied with the work we did today as we acted together to resolve our mutual problems. This mitigation plan isn’t perfect and may not be the last one before the end of this fiscal year, but it is a start to reforming state government, controlling our spending and living within our means.”