PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP/WPRI) — Leaders of the Rhode Island House of Representatives are planning to brief their colleagues before asking them to approve a $9.2 billion tax-and-spending plan for the upcoming fiscal year.
House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello and House Finance Committee Chairman Marvin Abney, both Democrats, are planning to hold a budget briefing on Tuesday afternoon. The House is scheduled to debate the budget and vote on it Thursday.
The plan includes tax relief for car owners, a pilot program for tuition-free community college, cuts to government spending and no major tax hikes, except for a higher tax on cigarettes. It also would restore free bus rides for low-income elderly or disabled riders.
If approved by the House, it would then move to the state Senate. The new fiscal year begins July 1.
GOP Slams Budget Proposal
Hours before the planned budget briefing, Rhode Island’s Republican Party came out against the spending plan.
Party Chairman Brandon Bell said the state should not be adding new spending programs that could contribute to the deficit.
“Once again, Rhode Island’s top Democratic leaders have concocted a bloated bogus budget that will increase our structural deficit. To pay for Raimondo’s new free CCRI plan, sewer rates are going to be hiked. After promising car tax relief eight months ago, Mattiello still can’t come up with spending cuts to pay for it. Also, a year after saying they needed to impose new tolls to fix our bridges, these politicians are diverting DMV fees from fixing potholes to plugging their budget hole,” Bell said in a written statement.