Legislative leaders opened the new General Assembly session yesterday by pledging to focus on jobs and education.
House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello and Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed unanimously won re-election to their leadership posts. Mattiello began his chamber’s 2015 session by vowing to keep a continued focus on jobs and the economy. Mattiello won his first full two-year term as speaker on a unanimous vote.
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.
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.
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.