Rhode Island’s 75 House lawmakers are set to kick off their annual budget debate at 2 p.m. Thursday. The Providence Journal’s Kathy Gregg reports that fewer proposed amendments have been filed than she has seen in years, which means it could be a relatively brief debate compared with last year’s chaotic two-day session.
Stepping back, the budget blueprint crafted by Democratic legislative leaders and approved last Thursday night by the House Finance Committee proposes $8.78 billion in total spending from all sources (the majority of it state general revenue and federal assistance) during the 2015 fiscal year, which begins July 1. That’s an increase of slightly more than $1 billion compared with the budget passed two years ago for the 2013 fiscal year.
Here’s a chart showing the total size of the budget since former Gov. Don Carcieri’s final year in office:
And here’s a chart showing how much each revenue source increased or decreased each year:
General revenue has been responsible for almost half the total increase in the budget since fiscal 2011, with federal aid picking up about one-third. (These dollar amounts are all nominal and not adjusted for inflation, though inflation has been low throughout this period.)
Follow my @tednesi Twitter feed later today for live coverage of the budget debate, and tune into Eyewitness News at 5, 5:30, 6 and 11 on WPRI 12 as well as 10 on Fox Providence for the latest updates from our team at the State House. If you want to dig into the budget documents yourself, they’re all posted here.