Teresa Paiva Weed

RIPR FILE

Rhode Island’s General Assembly and Gov. Gina Raimondo have reached agreement on her first state budget. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay on what the new budget will do and what it lacks.

The $8.7 billion state budget for the financial year that begins three days before the Bristol 4th of July parade  seems greased for approval at the Statehouse. As is usually the case, this spending and taxing plan contains elements Rhode Islanders should cheer yet   fails to address some of our little state’s crying needs.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Standing under a decaying highway overpass in Olneyville, Governor Gina Raimondo on Wednesday unveiled a plan to improve Rhode Island's crumbling bridges by imposing a yet-to-be determined charge on large commercial trucks.

The plan calls for a $700 million bond issue, to be included as part of the budget for the next fiscal year, to jump-start transit-related construction work. To the delight of unionized workers in attendance, Raimondo characterized the initiative -- dubbed "Rhode Works" -- as a measure that will improve infrastructure while creating construction jobs.

The Rhode Island Senate has approved legislation that would tie some funding for public colleges and universities to their performance. Supporters say the aim is to increase timely graduation rates, and the number of students in high demand fields.

The new legislation would create a set a unique set of standards for the Community College of Rhode Island, Rhode Island College, and the University of Rhode Island, to reach those goals.  Supporters say the bill would shrink the skills gap, by getting students into the workforce quicker with the appropriate education.

I-195 Redevelopment Commission

There’s a new proposal to develop part of the former I-195 land. The project could bring in long sought-after jobs in the science and health sectors.

The proposal comes from Connecticut real estate developer, CV Properties, and Baltimore-based Wexford Science and Technology. Wexford is a real-estate developer specializing in the health sciences.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Governor Gina Raimondo said the increase of more than $140 million in state revenue identified during last Friday's revenue estimating conference should be used "to invest in economic growth and putting people to work." The governor also appears to have joined with House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello in supporting the elimination of the Taylor Swift tax.

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