GOP Lawmakers Outline Four Budget Priorities

Jun 13, 2017

GOP lawmakers gather to encourage public support for their budget ideas.
Credit Ian Donnis / RIPR

Republican lawmakers on Tuesday outlined four budget priorities that they said will put the state on a path to a better economy.

"You can’t just keep spending more on programs that give very little value," House Minority Leader Patricia Morgan (R-West Warwick) said in introducing the proposals during a Statehouse news conference. "You actually have to go back and find the things that are broken and fix them. And if the people of the state really want to have a bright future for themselves and their children, we’re hoping they’ll step and talk to their legislators."

The House Finance Committee plans to vote on its version of Governor Gina Raimondo's budget proposal Thursday night.

The GOP proposals include:

-- Establishing an office of inspector general. The GOP lawmakers said that states with IGs have lower government spending and that by rooting out fraud and waste, an inspector general's office would more than pay for itself.

-- Eliminating a prevailing wage requirement for school construction projects. Supporters say this measure would foster competitive bidding and lower costs.

-- Steering money from RI Commerce Corp. incentives to offer a $45 million reduction in the tangible personal property tax. According to a GOP news release, "Funding from Commerce RI should go to the small businesses that create jobs in our state. not risky projects that benefit multi-millionaires."

-- Reforming disability pensions by not awarding pensions to undeserving individuals.

Democratic and Republican lawmakers have previously introduced proposal to create an inspector general's office, although the bills have not moved forward.

Morgan acknowledged the GOP concepts face an uphill battle, due to the small minorities held by Republicans in the House and Senate. But she expressed hope that an outpouring of public support could change the equation.

A spokesman for House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello said Mattiello has an ongoing dialogue with the GOP caucus and will continue to discuss the concepts with them.