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Connecticut Lawmakers Pass State Budget With Major Cuts, Layoffs

HARTFORD, Conn. (CBSNewYork/AP) -- A revised $19.7 billion Connecticut state budget that attempts to fix a projected $960 million deficit has passed the state House of Representatives, and now heads to Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy's desk.

The tax-and-spending deal reached between Malloy and the General Assembly's majority Democrats cleared the House 74-70 Friday, with eight Democrats joining the minority Republicans in opposition.

The bill cleared the Democratic controlled Senate on Thursday along party lines.

There is no tax increase in the budget, but instead the state will tackle the deficit with cuts and layoffs.

The budget bill calls in total for a cut of $821 million in general fund spending, $43 million in cuts to hospital funding, and an $8.7 million cut in state grants to private, nonprofit agencies that provide mental health and addiction services, WFSB reported.

Connecticut House Speaker Brendan Sharkey released a statement noting that the budget required difficult decisions, CBS affiliate WFSB-TV, Hartford reported.

"It's easy to criticize, but It's never easy to make cuts that reduce services and impact families, and it's easy to complain, but we had a responsibility to make these tough decisions, unlike the Republicans who did not have the courage to even offer their own budget for a vote," Sharkey said in the statement. "We were able to pass a budget that closed the deficit without raising taxes, borrowing or tapping into the rainy day fund, and makes the structural changes needed to move Connecticut forward on a sustainable path."

House Majority Leader Joe Aresimowicz said the budget ``wasn't easy,'' pointing out how it includes more than $820 million in cuts that ``hurt people who really need help'' and state employees who will likely face more layoffs.

But he said the budget was necessary, given the massive deficit.

House Minority Leader Themis Klarides agreed the bill cuts spending, but said it doesn't include the lasting changes needed to prevent future deficits.

(TM and © Copyright 2016 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2016 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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