state budget

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Legislative leaders Thursday praised the first budget presented by Governor Gina Raimondo. House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello said the spending plan avoids broad-based tax increases while promoting economic development.

“I think the overall balance is good, even though some of the decisions within that balance – whether they’re on the revenue side or the cut side – is something that none of us want to consider,” said Mattiello.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

A top legislative Republican praised Governor Gina Raimondo for expressing an optimistic message in her budget address last night. But Foster Representative Michael Chippendale said the state GOP also has a number of concerns about Raimondo’s spending plan.

“While it was stated that there were no broad-based tax increases, we do see some that we do not find particularly attractive, particularly the HealthSource Rhode Island example,” said Chippendale.

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

Governor Gina Raimondo is asking a group of healthcare leaders to tackle the cost of Medicaid. The program provides healthcare for poor and elderly Rhode Islanders.

The per-patient cost for Medicaid in Rhode Island is the second highest in the nation, and the rising price tag is eating up too much of the state budget. That was the message from Governor Gina Raimondo, as she signed an executive order to create a working group on Medicaid.

Raimondo said if the state doesn’t address the issue, the consequences could be dire.

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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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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.

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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A conservative-leaning think tank says Rhode Island spends more than 220 million dollars each year on what it calls non-essential state services.  The Rhode Island Center for Freedom and Prosperity says cutting this spending would improve Rhode Island’s economy.

Governor Lincoln Chafee’s budget proposal includes thousands of dollars in new funding for public schools, colleges and universities. The $8.5 billion spending plan would increase funding for K-12 schools by roughly $38 million, and provide $10 million for public colleges and universities.

Chafee touted the power of education in his State of the State address, saying it should provide a pathway to a better life and a stronger state economy. He also made a strong argument for the role of government in growing the middle class.

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Rhode Island continues to face worsening budget deficits for the next five years. That’s according to new information from the state budget office.  The red ink could cause cutbacks in government programs.

The budget office says lawmakers face a $150 million deficit for the fiscal year starting in July 2014. As it stands, the budget hole is set to keep growing,until it tops $400 million for fiscal 2018.

The budget enacted by the General Assembly in June made some relatively minor reductions in the state’s long-term deficits.

The Young Democrats of Rhode Island are slapping the older Democrats in their party who run the Statehouse. In a statement, the Young Democrats take issue with the proposed state budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1 that won House Finance Committee approval.

While the group ``commended’’ the Assembly for adding money for the state’s school funding formula and restoring funding for developmentally disabled citizens, the Young Democrats skewered other budget priorities.

RIPR

The outlook for Rhode Island’s next state budget will come into sharper view when the latest revenue data is discussed this morning.

The annual revenue estimating conference takes place twice a year, in November and May. It’s when legislative staffers offer their estimates of state revenues, based on taxes and other sources of income.

The latest revenue estimates are then used by the General Assembly when it makes revisions to the governor’s proposed budget for the fiscal year starting July first.

RI State House of Representatives
RIPR file

After a one-week winter break, the General Assembly gets back to work Tuesday.

State Education Commissioner Deborah Gist says her plan for improving Rhode Island’s public schools will not change, even if she is reporting to a new board of education.

The leadership change is part of the state budget that won approval last night from Senate lawmakers. It has already gotten a green light from the House of Representatives.

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