Governor Lincoln Chafee says he plans to sign into law the $8.7 billion budget passed Monday by the Rhode Island Senate. Senators took less than an hour to passing the spending plan on a 32-to-five vote.
Supporters say the budget sends a positive message by cutting the corporate tax rate from 9 to 7 percent, and raising the exemption on the estate tax to 1-point-five million dollars. Senators praised the elimination of tolls on the Sakonnet River Bridge and the creation of a new fund for road and bridge improvements. Senate Finance chairman Daniel DaPointe acknowledged drivers will pay higher vehicle inspection fees, but he says they can be confident about where the money’s going.
"Those fees that they’re paying are not going to simply disappear to what seems at times to be the black hole of the general fund. These fees generated will be segregated and specifically allocated to the transportation infrastructure fund," said DaPointe.
The budget includes $12.3 million to continue paying back 38 Studios’ investors. The spending plan doesn’t alter structural deficits projected to grow to hundreds of millions of dollars over the next few years.
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