Chafee mum on whether his budget will include tax hikes

Dec 26, 2012

Governor Lincoln Chafee is declining to talk specifics about whether his next budget will include revenue increases – a.k.a. tax hikes.

The governor offered this comment during an interview last week (excerpts of which will be broadcast on RIPR Thursday morning):

“The budget will come out in January … we’re still putting it together.”

The governor’s latest budget is expected to emerge by January 17. Previous tax hikes proposed by Chafee have been lightning rods for public criticism. The General Assembly has mostly squelched the governor’s intended tax program.

Chafee says his top goal for 2013 is crafting a stable foundation for building Rhode Island’s economy.

The governor offered this response when asked if his administration is bringing enough urgency to economic development:

“There’s nothing I think about more every day – and that has not changed from the day I took the oath of office – than the Rhode Island economy. So it’s a complete inaccuracy to suggest in any way there’s not a sense of urgency about the Rhode Island economy.”

As Rhode Island still wrestles with high unemployment, some individuals and groups outside government have clamored for a tangible plan to improve the state’s economy.

Chafee calls his approach “a methodical conservative way” of investing in education, roads and bridges, and fiber-optics. The governor says some of those criticizing his efforts supported the state;s losing investment in 38 Studios. “Sense of urgency is sometimes how you define it,” Chafee says.