Cathy Osten


Cathy Osten



May 30, 2017

Sen. Osten, State Senate Pass Bipartisan Bill to Close the 2017 Year-end Budget Shortfall

State Senator Cathy Osten (D-Sprague) joined Democratic and Republican members of the state Senate this evening in a unanimous and bipartisan vote on a deficit mitigation plan to address the $317 million shortfall in the state budget for the current fiscal year which ends on June 30.

“It’s important that we came to a bipartisan consensus this evening to address the fiscal condition we have encountered so late in the year,” said Sen. Osten, who is Co-Chair of the Appropriations Committee. “Tonight’s action sets us on a stronger fiscal footing to close out the year and allows us to focus on the much larger challenge ahead of crafting a biennial state budget.”

The plan passed this evening protects the $19.4 million June Pequot payment to cities and towns, protects $1 million in privately raised monies for state parks, and protects $1 million in funding for employment opportunities and day services for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Hospitals will also be held harmless to cuts.

The state’s budget reserve fund maintains a balance of approximately $30 million, while the bill also transfers funds from other accounts.

Following passage of the deficit mitigation plan, the Senate also passed a deficiency bill approved in the House of Representatives last week to allow the state to continue paying for core services in the final weeks of the fiscal year. These core services include funding for the Birth-to-Three program, Department of Developmental Services, Office of the Public Defender Services Commission, Department of Public Safety and Emergency Services, and Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.

“I thank my Senate colleagues for coming together to pass these two important measures with bipartisan support,” said Senator Paul Formica (R-East Lyme), who is Co-Chair of the Appropriations Committee. “This is an important first step in getting the state’s finances in order so we can tackle the significant budgetary problems on the horizon.”

The deficit mitigation bill now moves to the House of Representatives.