Legislative finance committees are set to start holding hearings Tuesday on details of Governor Gina Raimondo’s first budget. The governor’s spending plan has attracted both praise and criticism.
The House and Senate finance committees stage weeks of hearings to review different aspects of the annual budget. Supporters and opponents of different programs turn out to testify, in an attempt to sway lawmakers.
The full house has approved a bill allowing Twin River Casino to build a hotel on its property. Twin River wants the hotel to compete with proposed casinos in Massachusetts.
The restriction that keeps Twin River from building a hotel was originally put in place to protect Providence area hotels from losing business. But now Massachusetts plans to open three casinos and a slot parlor, threatening Twin River’s revenue. Twin River officials have unveiled a proposal to build a four story hotel on their Lincoln property.
Efforts to eliminate a $66 million deficit in the current state budget will be the subject of a House Finance Committee meeting this Thursday; and more red ink is forecast for the next fiscal year.
The Finance Committee plans to hear from state department directors about attempts to cut higher-than-expected spending. Spending in some departments can rise unexpectedly, for example, due to fluctuations in the inmate population at the state prison or overtime by state workers.