Through this extended budget season, RIPEC brings you a brief update on the major public policy issues impacting Rhode Island
RIPEC on Public Policy
- RIPEC President and CEO Michael DiBiase was appointed by Governor Gina Raimondo to an eight-member Municipal Resilience Task Force, charged with developing recommendations to “build economic resiliency” and “achieve cost savings” for cities and towns financially challenged by COVID-19.
- Michael DiBiase told The Public’s Radio that the governor’s interest in merging the state’s Turnpike and Bridge Authority, Department of Transportation, and Public Transit Authority was “a good idea,” as it would reduce state expenditures by streamlining administrative costs and project bidding procedures.
- The Annenberg Institute at Brown University and Results for America’s EdResearch for Recovery Project published issue briefs in August that shared strategies for addressing learning losses and improving the quality of elementary and secondary education during the pandemic.
- In an analysis of the real value of $100 in metro areas across the U.S. in 2018, the Tax Foundation found that purchasing power in the Providence-Warwick metro area was a remarkably average $100.10. In contrast, the real value of $100 in the Boston-Cambridge-Newton metro area was $87.57.
What to Look for in September
- In July, the governor proposed an additional $228 million in general obligation bonds, nearly doubling the total to $496.8 million, but the legislature still needs to agree to the request before it can be placed on the ballot for voter consideration on November 3rd. Earlier in July, Michael DiBiase called for increased strategic borrowing for capital investments, citing borrowing as “one of the few tools” available to state government in the current economic crisis.
- Over two months into the new fiscal year, and as federal relief legislation has stalled in Congress, little activity has been taken by the legislature to pass a state budget. Until a new budget is enacted, state government will continue operating on monthly spending allotments based on last year’s budget.
- While the governor announced that every school district but Providence and Central Falls is cleared for full reopening on September 14th, she also announced that districts have until October 13th to make the transition. With eight superintendents having said they will open the school year with distance learning if their public health concerns are not addressed, and a host of districts planning to implement partial reopening, it remains to be seen what public education will look like across the state over the next few months.