Today, August 9, RIPEC released “How Rhode Island’s State and Local Expenditures Compare”, a companion report to “How Rhode Island’s State and Local Revenues Compare”. The report compares Rhode Island’s expenditures – per $1,000 of personal income and per capita – with those of the other 49 states and the United States average. This year’s report includes data for both fiscal years 2008 and 1998, based on the United States Census Bureau, Government Finance data. FY 2008 is the latest year for which national data are available.
Between FY 1998 and FY 2008, general expenditures (spending relating to general government activity) increased by 14.2 percent in Rhode Island, from $183.97 per $1,000 of personal income in FY 1998 to $210.03 per $1,000 of personal income in FY 2008. Throughout the country, the two largest expenditure categories were elementary and secondary education and vendor payments (predominantly Medicaid); together, these two categories account for approximately 60 percent of all spending nationally and in Rhode Island.
The report also finds that, as in past years, Rhode Island continues to have higher direct general expenditures than the national average and, similar to past years, devotes more resources to elementary and secondary education, social services and public safety than most other states. Conversely, the Ocean State spent significantly less than the national average on higher education, transportation, and environment/housing. These spending patterns reflect policy choices made by the State and municipalities over the past decade.