Progress Reported In Resolving RI Budget Impasse

Jul 28, 2017

Following a series of talks between House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello and Senate President Dominick Ruggerio, the month-long Rhode Island budget impasse may come to a conclusion next week.

Senate Democrats plan to hold a caucus Monday to discuss the situation. Barring a lack of support, the Senate could then vote on the House version of the budget for the fiscal year that began July 1.

The budget stalemate erupted June 30, when the Senate added a last-minute amendment calling for a freeze in a phaseout of the car tax if state revenue plummets. State reps left the Statehouse in response, refusing to vote on the amended version of the budget passed by the Senate.

Under a compromise, the legislature could agree to conduct a future assessment of the car tax phaseout, according to a Statehouse source.

Senate spokesman Peter Capineri would not confirm the Monday caucus. But the caucus was confirmed by two sources familiar with the details.

If the Senate approves the House budget, the legislature would be expected to return for a fall legislative session to take up some of major bills left in limbo, including paid sick leave and a domestic violence-gun bill. It remains unclear if legislative Finance committees will take up the proposal for a new PawSox stadium in Pawtucket.

Pressure for lawmakers to solve the budget impasse has increased somewhat, since state payments to cities and towns next week may include less revenue that expected. That's because the state is operating for now under the terms of last year's budget.

This post has been updated.