RI House takes up budget

Providence, R.I. – The House of Representatives is scheduled to vote this afternoon on an almost $8 billion dollar budget.

The budget closes a $570 dollar deficit for the current and next fiscal years. One of the most controversial elements is the withholding from cities and towns of $133 million in car tax revenue for fiscal 2011. And House spokesman Larry Berman says lawmakers continue to rely on $100 million in federal money that has yet to be allocated.

"There are about 30 states that are affected by this," Berman says. "So we are hoping that the federal government will take that under consideration, that many states have already passed budgets, or are about to pass budgets, that include federal assistance."

Berman says lawmakers will devise a supplemental budget later on if the expected federal money doesn't materialize. Today's budget vote is slated to begin at 2 pm. But it traditionally begins later and continues well past midnight.