general assembly

Politics
9:08 am
Thu June 12, 2014

House Lawmakers Set To Take Up State Budget

A vote on the state budget is expected from the House Thursday evening.
Credit RIPR FILE

Lawmakers are set to begin their annual marathon session this Thursday to vote on a budget for the fiscal year starting July first. The $8.7 billion spending plan eliminates tolls on the Sakonnet River Bridge.

House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello says he’s gotten only positive feedback about the spending plan. The budget cuts the corporate tax rate from 9 to 7 percent and raises the exemption for the inheritance tax. The spending plan also includes $12.3 million to continue paying back investors in 38 Studios.

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Politics
8:51 am
Thu June 12, 2014

State's Historic Tax Program Not Included In State Budget

The top of the Atlantic Mills building in Providence is one of the Providence Preservation Society most 'endangered' properties in the city. The Society has been working to redevelop the property; hoping to take advantage of the state's historic tax credits program.
Credit Providence Preservation Society

The House will take up a budget Thursday that does not include funding for the state’s historic tax credit program. In his budget, the governor included $52 million in tax credits with a $5 million per-project cap. But in a statement, House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello said the state is taking a one-year break, and points to projects still in the pipeline. Providence Preservation Society Executive Director Brent Runyon said that pipeline needs to stay open.

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Politics
9:13 am
Tue June 10, 2014

Bill Looks To Create Commission To Investigate State Loan Programs

A new bill would create a commission to investigate state loan programs.
Credit RIPR FILE

A bill slated to be considered Tuesday by the House Finance Committee would create a commission to investigate loan programs like the one that funded 38 Studios. House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello has opposed the idea of lawmakers using subpoenas to probe 38 Studios.

The bill sponsored by state Representative Michael Chippendale (R-Foster) would create a nine-member panel to investigate unsuccessful state loan programs. Chippendale said it’s important to press for answers even if the state budget being voted on later this week includes money to pay back 38 Studios’ investors.

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Education
9:00 am
Tue June 10, 2014

Proposed State Budget Puts School Construction Projects Up In The Air

Education leaders are raising concerns over the House Finance Committee’s proposed budget. The budget fully funds the state’s formula for providing education aid, but there’s no funding for school construction.

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On Politics
3:18 pm
Mon June 9, 2014

Economic Progress Institute Says Budget Benefits Wealthy, Hurts Poor Rhode Islanders

The liberal-leaning Economic Progress Institute says the budget slated for a House vote Thursday provides $9 million in tax breaks "to the heirs of wealthy estates," while cutting $3.9 million in tax benefits for low to moderate-income Rhode Islanders.

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On Politics
4:16 pm
Fri June 6, 2014

TGIF: 12 Things to Know About Rhode Island Politics & Media

Welcome back to my Friday column. You know summer isn't far behind when a budget emerges in the General Assembly and gubernatorial candidates increasingly take to the airwaves. Your tips and thoughts are always welcome at idonnis (at) ripr (dot) org, and you can follow me through the week on the twitters. Let's get to it.

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Politics
8:24 am
Fri June 6, 2014

House Finance Committee Passes $8.7 Billion Budget

Lawmakers announce plan to zap Sakonnet River Bridge toll. House Finance Chairman Ray Gallison stands at the microphone.
Credit Ian Donnis / RIPR

On a 14-2 margin, the House Finance Committee Thursday approved an $8.7 billion budget for the fiscal year starting July first.  Lawmakers say they hope tax cuts will bolster Rhode Island’s underperforming economy.

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Political Roundtable
4:00 am
Fri June 6, 2014

Political Roundtable: Ferri on Running for LG; RI's Healthcare Exchange; 38 Studios & More

Credit Ian Donnis / RIPR

State Representative Frank Ferri (D-Warwick), one of three Democrats running for lieutenant governor, joined Political Roundtable this week discuss his campaign and other issues, including 38 Studios and the Democratic race for governor.

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Politics
10:33 am
Thu June 5, 2014

House Committee Approves Mental Health Gun Legislation

The House Judiciary Committee voted to approve what may be some of the only gun legislation this session.

The National Instant Criminal Background Check System, or NICS, is one of three federal databases that federally licensed gun sellers check before selling anyone a gun.  

Right now the state does not submit any information to NICS.  The bill voted on by the House Judiciary Committee would allow the state’s District Court to report to NICS anyone who has been deemed a danger to themselves or others after a mental health hearing.

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Politics
8:51 am
Thu June 5, 2014

Finance Committee To Take First Pass At 2015 State Budget

The House Finance Committee is expected to voted on the State Budget Thursday night.
Credit Aaron Read / RIPR

The House Finance Committee is expected to vote this Thursday on a new state budget for the fiscal year beginning July first. The General Assembly traditionally makes significant revisions to the governor’s proposed spending plan.

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