Welcome back to my Friday column. The news keeps coming fast and furious, from near and far, although the local pace is bound to include just a few more leisure moments with the approach of summer. Feel free to share your tips and thoughts at idonnis (at) ripr (dot) org, and to follow me on the twitters. Here we go.
State Representative Joseph Shekarchi (D-Warwick) joins Political Roundtable this week to discuss the House budget; 38 Studios; the latest findings about public school performance in Rhode Island; and a new entry in the race for lieutenant governor.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.