Hwang hails passage of bipartisan bill to close budget shortfall

Tony Hwang

Tony Hwang

State Senator Tony Hwang (R-28) praised the passage of a bipartisan deficit mitigation plan to cover the $317 million shortfall in the state budget for the current year ending June 30, 2017.

The plan approved by the Senate protects $1 million in privately raised monies for state parks and restores $1 million in funding for employment opportunities and day services for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Hospitals also will not see a reduction in funding.

“Passing this plan with bipartisan Senate support from Democrats and Republicans shows that we can work together to adopt legislation that is in the best interest of the state and its residents,” Sen. Hwang said. “This is the kind of collaborative leadership that needs to continue in our biennial budget deficit negotiations. We need a budget process that address fundamental and structural changes to state government that creates predictability, sustainability and transparency.”

The state’s budget reserve fund maintains a balance of approximately $30 million under the Senate’s plan. The bill now moves to the House of Representatives.

Following the passage of the deficit mitigation plan, the Senate also approved a deficiency bill passed in the House of Representatives last week. The deficiency bill allows the state to continue paying for core services in the final weeks of the fiscal year. This includes:

  • $7.6 million for the Department of Developmental Services;
  • $7.1 million for the Office of Early Childhood, with most of those funds needed for the Birth-to-Three program;
  • $4.0 million for the Public Defender Services Commission;
  • $500,000 for the Department of Public Safety and Emergency Services;
  • $300,000 for the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner

To meet these needs, legislator redirected $19.5 million in projected surplus funds from a fringe benefits account. The bill now heads to the Governor’s desk for approval.

Sen. Hwang represents the communities of Easton, Fairfield, Newtown, Weston, and Westport.

 

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