Senate passes final bill to balance state budget

(AP) - The Senate has passed the final bill towrap up Connecticut's budget process, closing a remaining $400million gap and essentially signing off on a yet-to-be ratifiedlabor agreement that's supposed to save $1.6 billion.

The wide-ranging bill passed the Senate, 20-16, on Tuesday withtwo Democrats joining the minority Republicans in opposition.

GOP senators questioned why the bill allows the GeneralAssembly, should it choose, to forgo voting on the labor-savingsdeal if it is ratified by rank-and-file members. They alsoquestioned whether the projected savings are realistic, sayinglawmakers were making a "leap of faith."

Democrats said they're hopeful the deal will be ratified andcalled the savings significant.

Lawmakers passed a two-year, $40.1 billion budget last monththat left a $2 billion hole for the labor savings.

2011 legislative session nearing endDetails about deal between Malloy, unions emerge

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