budget

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.

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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.

Ian Donnis/File Photo / RIPR

Governor-elect Gina Raimondo joins Political Roundtable this week to discuss her pre-inaugural focus, plans for confronting budget deficits, how she'll work with the General Assembly, and more.

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The House Finance Committee is slated to meet Thursday to review the condition of state budget. The state will face a deficit for the next fiscal year.

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In a ceremony at the Statehouse today, Governor Lincoln Chafee signed into law the state's budget for fiscal year 2015.

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The state Senate is expected Monday to approve a new budget for the fiscal year starting July first.  The House of Representatives passed the spending plan early last Friday morning.

Warwick city officials are hammering out the details of a city budget that’s been at the center of a dispute between the city council and the mayor. Hanging in the balance is the property tax rate that will cover the new budget. Rhode Island Public Radio’s Catherine Welch sat down with Warwick Mayor Scott

Avedisian to find out where the city is in buttoning down the budget,  and what residents can expect on their next tax bill.

West Warwick Residents Approve Critical Budget

May 23, 2014
Wikimedia Commons

Residents of West Warwick have passed a town budget that scales back services and raises taxes as part of an effort to avoid a financial crisis.  The move is a early step for the town's path to fiscal stability.

The $86.3 million budget comes with plenty of concessions, including cuts in town programs, a 2.9 percent increase in property taxes, and reductions to public employee pensions. But town manager Frederick Presley said the concessions are necessary if West Warwick wants to avoid bankruptcy.

As you may know, far more Rhode Islanders signed up for Medicaid than expected recently. And the state is on the hook for millions more dollars than anticipated to care for them. The federal government is picking up the tab for now for people who became newly eligible for the program under the Obamacare Medicaid expansion, which Rhode Island opted to accept (unlike some other states). That allowed childless adults, men and women, earning less than a certain amount a year, to get health insurance, some perhaps for the first time.

Pawtucket Mayor Donald Grebien has proposed a budget that excludes any tax hike for residents or businesses. The proposed 112-million dollar budget includes buying a rescue vehicle to cut overtime costs, giving schools 600-thousand extra dollars, and setting aside money in the rainy day fund. Grebien said the arrival of new businesses, cuts in city staff, and grant revenue helped craft the budget.

file / RIPR

Cranston residents will face no property tax increase next year under a budget proposed Tuesday night by Mayor Allan Fung. He has submitted a $262 million spending plan that would fully fund the city’s annual pension obligations while not hiking property taxes.

The average Cranstonian pays $5,000 a year in property taxes. Fung admits that’s high, but says just keeping taxes from rising has been a challenge given state funding cuts and the devastation caused by the great flood of 2010.

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