Connecticut’s $37.6 billion budget is en route to Gov. Dannel Malloy after the state Senate on Monday night approved the biennial spending plan by a 19-17 vote.
The budget bill passed just before 9:45 p.m., sparing senators the overnight shift their House counterparts endured a day earlier. Three conservative Democrats opposed the budget, producing the narrow vote.
The General Assembly session is scheduled to close Wednesday.
“We didn’t raise taxes and we covered our priorities,” Malloy said at the state capitol in Hartford.
Joan Hartley of Waterbury, Gayle Slossburg of Milford and Paul Doyle of Wethersfield were the dissenting Democrats. That party has a 22-14 advantage in the Senate.
Democrats shifted about $6 billion in expected federal Medicaid assistance to a separate account to comply with spending-cap limitations that voters enacted as a constitutional amendment in 1992.
Republicans objected to this move and also said the budget relies too much on stop-gap maneuvers, such as the addition of keno-game revenue from restaurants and bars.
“We should not rely on an expansion of gambling to solve our budget problems or our economic problems,” said Senate Minority Leader John McKinney, R-Fairfield.
Although Malloy called the budget balanced under generally accepted accounting principles, it pushes full GAAP conversion to the 2015-16 fiscal year, after the governor’s first term. Malloy has urged immediate compliance with GAAP while running for governor in 2010.
Moody’s Investors Service rates Connecticut’s general obligation bonds Aaa3, while Kroll Bond Rating Agency, Fitch Ratings and Standard & Poor’s assign AA ratings.