Senate agrees to tighten the state’s credit card

In a rare move of bipartisan frugality, the state Senate unanimously adopted a bill this afternoon that cancels $422 million in planned borrowing to keep state government’s credit card under its statutory limit.

The measure, which now heads to the House of Representatives, cancels dozens of community and regional projects in legislators’ home districts and tens of millions of economic development dollars under Gov. M. Jodi Rell’s jurisdiction.

It also merged and reduced by about 15 percent preliminary bond authorizations for projects in the state’s three largest cities. In its place were bonding pools for Hartford, Bridgeport and New Haven that total $58.6 million, and local officials in each city would determine how funding would be distributed among the projects.

The legislation also approved $40 million in new borrowing for municipal sewage treatment plant upgrades.

The net effect of the bill would bring state borrowing about $170 million under the legal limit next fiscal year.

With more than $19 billion in outstanding bonded debt, Connecticut ranked second in the nation in debt per capita last year, according to the legislature’s nonpartisan Office of Fiscal Analysis.