budget

Here's the full text of Gov. Gina Raimondo's budget address, given Thursday evening in the Statehouse.

Speaker Mattiello, Senate President Paiva Weed, Members of the General Assembly, the Judiciary, the Cabinet, City and Town Leaders, and my fellow Rhode Islanders.

Good Evening. It is an honor to stand before you to address how we can work together to expand opportunities for all Rhode Islanders and create jobs.

Gov. Gina Raimondo is scheduled to deliver her first State of The State address tonight. The address will give Rhode Islanders their first look at the governor’s spending priorities for the coming fiscal year.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Rhode Island faces a big financial gap as Governor Gina Raimondo prepares to unveil her first budget Thursday. State law requires a balanced spending plan, and Raimondo has pledged to improve Rhode Island’s economy while wiping out the red ink. But that will be no easy task.

Thanks for stopping by for my weekly read. Lots going on, so we'll get right to it. As always, feel free to drop me a line at idonnis (at) ripr (dot org) and to follow me on the twitters.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Governor Gina Raimondo outlined a series of troubling indicators Wednesday to underscore her argument that adding jobs -- rather than cutting spending or raising taxes -- is the only way to heal Rhode Island's under-performing economy.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello reacted coolly Monday to a proposal by state Representative Daniel Reilly (R-Portsmouth) that would create an inspector general, as a way of rooting out waste and mismanagement in Rhode Island's almost $9 billion annual budget.

Brown University has raised tuition for the coming school year by 4.4 percent. A year of undergraduate tuition and fees at Brown will now top $62,000.

The Brown Corporation made the decision at its annual winter meeting over the weekend. The corporation also approved an 8 percent increase in financial aid spending to help offset the tuition increase.

Brown's 2016 budget includes a $4.4 million dollar operating deficit, which will be covered by university reserves. This is the third year in a row that Brown has operated with a deficit.

Rhode Island emerged mostly unscathed from the first major snowstorm of the year, although the roads and sidewalks are a different story, in some cases. Thanks for stopping by. As always, feel free to share a tip or your thoughts via idonnis (at) ripr (dot) org, and to follow me on the twitters. Here we go.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Governor-elect Gina Raimondo is poised to be inaugurated next Tuesday as Rhode Island's first female governor. She sat down at her transition office Tuesday to discuss the top challenges facing the state and other issues.

The gifts have been unwrapped, the eggnog raised, and now it's quick sprint to New Year's before the start of a new phase in Rhode Island politics. So thanks for stopping by. As always, feel free to share tips and thoughts at idonnis (at) ripr (dot) or to follow me on the twitters. Here we go.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello is poised next month to win his first full two-year term to what is considered the most powerful post in state government. The Cranston Democrat won a battle for the speakership last March following the resignation of his predecessor, Gordon Fox. Mattiello sat down in his Statehouse office this week to discuss his priorities for 2015 and a host of other issues.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello said he's willing to consider cutting spending if that's what it takes to reduce Rhode Island's long-term structural deficits.

During a Statehouse interview Monday, Mattiello said that when it comes to the almost $200 million deficit for the fiscal year starting next July, the state needs to be more efficient "and we're going to have to look at what our neighboring states do and get our expenses in line with our neighboring states."

Governor-elect Gina Raimondo on Monday named Michael DiBiase, a former chief of staff to Governor Lincoln Almond, as her nominee to be director of the state Department of Administration.

DiBiase, a Republican, left state government in 2001 to become vice president for government relations for Fidelity Investments. A graduate of Boston College and University of Pennsylvania law school, he residents in Narragansett with his wife, Janice Devitt.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Teresa Paiva Weed of Newport is poised to be elected next month to her fourth term as president of the Rhode Island Senate. Paiva Weed recently sat down in her Statehouse office to talk about her priorities for 2015 and other issues.

RIPR FILE

Efforts to eliminate a $66 million deficit in the current state budget will be the subject of a House Finance Committee meeting this Thursday; and more red ink is forecast for the next fiscal year.

The Finance Committee plans to hear from state department directors about attempts to cut higher-than-expected spending.  Spending in some departments can rise unexpectedly, for example, due to fluctuations in the inmate population at the state prison or overtime by state workers.

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