The Rhode Island House resumed the budget debate Wednesday afternoon. It's the second day that followed an unusual defeat for House Speaker Gordon Fox which sent the state's spending plan for the fiscal year starting July 1 into uncertainty.
On Wednesday the House voted 67-4 on a bill that freezes tolls on the Sakonnet River Bridge until February 1, 2014. The legislation also creates a commission to study how East Bay bridges are funded. And a provision in the House budget blocks any toll hikes for Newport's Pell Bridge.
As tonight’s budget debate in the R.I. House creaks along, some sharp-eyed lawmakers should be asking some hard questions about the item for a capital budget request of more than $3 million to purchase a vacant lot near the State House wedged between the Veterans Memorial Auditorium and the state employee credit union building. . The provision was put in by Gov. Lincoln Chafee’s administration and originally proposed paying $3.5 million for the land, according to fiscal analysis done by House financial staffers.