Senate Finance committee

RIPR FILE

Legislative finance committees are set to start holding hearings Tuesday on details of Governor Gina Raimondo’s first budget. The governor’s spending plan has attracted both praise and criticism.

The House and Senate finance committees stage weeks of hearings to review different aspects of the annual budget. Supporters and opponents of different programs turn out to testify, in an attempt to sway lawmakers.

A series of education bills on the agenda at the Senate Finance Committee Tuesday range from a tax credit for college graduates to funding for charter schools.

One bill would give recent college graduates a break on their state income taxes. The idea is to stem the so-called “brain drain,” when local graduates put their newly-minted degrees to work in other states.

The measure would give a maximum $5,000 credit for a worker who received a bachelor’s degree from a local college or university within the last 10 years.

Former State Sen. Stephen Alves of West Warwick has been arrested for drunk driving after an accident on Route 146 In Lincoln. State Police say Alves struck a tractor-trailer truck near the Twin River casino exit.

Police say Alves drove his vehicle ``directly into the rear of the tractor trailer.’’ Alves, a former Senate Finance Committee chairman, is a Statehouse lobbyist.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

A state Senate committee voted Tuesday to create a new Rhode Island infrastructure fund that would eliminate tolls on the Sakonnet River Bridge. As Rhode Island Public Radio political reporter Ian Donnis reports, the bill faces several hurdles to take effect.

The legislation unanimously passed by the Senate Finance Committee would generate 800 million dollars over 10 years for keeping up roads and bridges. Senate President Teresa Pavia Weed calls the bill a long-term approach, starting next year, for improving the state’s decaying infrastructure.

Stephen Whitney is back as fiscal adviser to the R.I. Senate. Whiney worked for the Senate for 11 years until last December, when he went to the budget management office. Whitney replaces Eugene Gessow, who left the post recently. Whitney’s first day is today, according to Senate spokesman Greg Pare.

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