BRISTOL, R.I. (WPRI) — Rhode Island’s new Veterans Home in Bristol is nearing completion, and veterans are scheduled to move in by the fall of 2017. But how to pay for it is still in question — and Question 3 on next Tuesday’s ballot, if approved, will bring a major help, according to state officials.
At a noisy construction site on the existing Veterans Home campus Wednesday, Gov. Gina Raimondo and Rep. David Cicilline urged Rhode Island residents to vote “yes” on ballot question 3 and authorize funding to complete the construction and help maintain the new buildings.
“It is the right thing to do,” said Gov. Raimondo. “Veterans deserve to retire with dignity. This is going to be a first-class operation with cleaner, new individual rooms for our veterans.”
When complete, 208 veterans will have the opportunity to live in a more home-like environment and will have access to high-quality care.
Construction started in June 2015. Voting against question 3 won’t prevent the new facility from being built, but approving it will maximize the federal reimbursement available, reducing the amount the state has to spend on the project.
“The federal government has tripled its contribution to $60 million, which means the state is able to reduce its original authorization from $72 million to $60 million,” said Rep. Cicilline. “[Yes on Question 3] will save Rhode Island taxpayers $12 million, and it will result in the best state of the art facility you can imagine.”
A “no” vote on 3 will cost Rhode Island more money, Gov. Raimondo said. “So for that reason alone, it’s the right thing to do.”
The only criticism Eyewitness News found of Question 3 was the Rhode Island Center for Freedom and Prosperity’s assessment of “Maybe, approve, maybe.” “We oppose any and all new debt for the state government of Rhode Island… Nonetheless, we cannot ignore the sacrifice and dedication of America’s veterans,” and voters should weigh whether borrowing is the right choice.
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