RI House Finance Committee approves budget balancing plan

Providence, R.I. – The House Finance Committee last night approved a plan to balance the state budget through June of 2011.

House Finance Chairman Steven Costantino calls the budget a victory for taxpayers, since it doesn't include any broad-based tax increases. The budget also cuts state education aid, trims pension benefits, and withholds $133 million in car tax revenue from cities and towns. Costantino offered this context.

"Think about what families have been through the last two years who have lost their jobs and who have had reductions in pay," Costantino said. "They've had to run their families with less."

But advocates for schools and cities and towns say the budget will have a dramatic effect on the state's poorest communities. The full House is due to take up the spending plan next Thursday.