Rhode Island’s Public Debt Is More Than $10B

Apr 21, 2017

That’s according to a new report released by the state Treasurer’s office this week. State General Treasurer Seth Magaziner and the Public Finance Management Board published the Debt Affordability Study, a deep dive into the state of borrowing in Rhode Island.

In Rhode Island, more than 100 different entities can borrow money. Those entities include school districts, government agencies, as well as cities and towns.

The analysis says the state’s debt is manageable for the time being, but recommends accumulating future debt based off of available resources and not just needs. The report also sets debt targets for the state, including the state’s pension liabilities. Targets are based off expected incoming revenues.

The report says most quasi-public agencies like the Narragansett Bay Commission and the Rhode Island Student Loan Authority are already within recommended targets. The report notes that some are considering investing in expensive projects. It recommends careful consideration before moving forward.

The report also cites six Rhode Island communities as exceeding recommended debt targets- including Providence, which has struggled to fund its municipal pensions.