As we enter the new year and the pandemic continues to pose both fiscal and health challenges, RIPEC brings you a brief update on the major public policy issues impacting Rhode Island.
RIPEC on Public Policy
- RIPEC’s report on the current year (Fiscal Year 2021) budget found that the General Assembly relied on over $400 million of one-time federal COVID relief funding to produce a balanced budget, and projects that Rhode Island faces a potential budget deficit of $513.7 million for FY 2022, representing more than ten percent of the total budget.
- Boston Globe, “Rhode Island faces $513 million budget shortfall”
- Providence Business News, “RIPEC advises ‘more urgency’ in addressing state FY22 budget deficit”
- The FY 2021 budget restored a proposed funding cut in aid to municipalities and provided additional federal relief funding of $25 million to cities and towns and $40 million to school districts through the school funding formula.
- Though a new federal relief package provides additional jobless aid, paycheck protection loan funds, stimulus checks to individuals, and some funding for state functions, it does not include broader state or local revenue aid, leaving future budgets at risk of revenue shortfalls.
What to Look for in January
- The Rhode Island General Assembly reconvened last week. Though the governor’s budget proposal deadline has been pushed back to March, Speaker Shekarchi has highlighted the budget as a top priority, noting to WPRI that, if there are significant revenue needs, the Assembly will “have to look at everything . . . car tax, raising taxes, cuts.”
- With Governor Gina Raimondo poised for confirmation as President Joe Biden’s Commerce Secretary, Lieutenant Governor Dan McKee’s transition team is laying the groundwork for his administration.
- RIPEC will release a newly redesigned edition of its “How Rhode Island Compares” series, analyzing the Ocean State’s revenues and expenditures in national, regional, and historic perspective.
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