Connecticut's General Assembly approved a bipartisan plan to close an estimated $220 million deficit for fiscal 2016, paving the way for Gov. Dannel Malloy and lawmakers to cope with a roughly $1 billion shortfall for fiscal 2017, which begins July 1.
"There remains much work to be done," Malloy, who expects to sign the bill, told reporters late Tuesday after the Senate approved the revised spending plan by a 33-3 vote and House adopted it 127-16.
Stop-gap moves including the tapping of resources from off-budget accounts totaled $87.2 million of the mitigation.
"This marks probably the first time in a very, very long time that anything on the budget has been done on a bipartisan basis, going back multiple administrations," Malloy said at his news conference at the state capitol in Hartford.
The state's recurring deficits have appeared more frequently on the radar of bond rating agencies, with Malloy citing Wall Street turmoil at least partly for the revenue drop.
Two weeks ago, before Connecticut's $550 million general obligation offering, Moody's Investors Service and Kroll Bond Rating Agency revised their outlooks to negative from stable. Standard & Poor's continued the negative outlook it imposed in March 2015, while Fitch Ratings reaffirmed its stable outlook.
Moody's reaffirmed its Aa3 rating. Fitch, S&P and Kroll all affirmed AA ratings.
The new spending plan minimized some cuts Malloy made in early March to social service agencies. Still, said the governor, "We took tens and tens of millions out of our own spending plan."
Malloy said he still expects "a substantial number of layoffs" in the short term. "There's not too much we can do about that," he said.
Mayors Luke Bronin of Hartford, Joseph Ganim of Bridgeport and Toni Harp of New Haven praised lawmakers for sparing cuts in municipal aid.
"As Hartford confronts a full-blown fiscal crisis, now more than ever we need investments from the state, which help keep the city from having to make even deeper cuts in city services and manpower," said Bronin, who took office in January.
State Sen. Len Fasano, R-North Haven, said the package would preserve funding for the "most vulnerable in the state" and restore funding to hospitals.