Rhode Island is in a 360 Million Dollar Hole Over the Next 2 Years

Scott Mayerowitz of the Projo provides some specific numbers on the projected state budget deficits, for this year and next…

But state government is also spending more than was budgeted, particularly in the Department of Corrections and the Department of Children, Youth and Families. Additionally, a reduction in the state’s work force hasn’t been fully implemented.
State lawmakers face not only the $104.8-million deficit this year, but an expected $254-million deficit for the fiscal year that begins on July 1.
Remember, this is what Rhode Island is facing during a national economic boom. What’s going to happen to RI in the event of an economic downturn?

0 0 votes
Article Rating
5 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
johnb
johnb
14 years ago

why? why? why did you have to bring this up?
can’t we all just live in ignorant bliss; continue to kneel at the altar of the unions; and have deaf, dumb, and blind belief that our unfunded pension system will somehow replenish itself?
i don’t know about you, but personally i’m banking on the deficit fairy to solve our problems

John
John
14 years ago

Gee,
Could there be any connection between offering the nation’s most liberal welfare programs and rising DCYF and Corrections caseloads?
Of course not. All we have to do to solve these problems is spend more on our teachers, pass all the welfare program expansion bills that Liz Roberts introduced last year, give the correctional officers union everything they want, make no cuts in public sector pension and health benefits, make the sales tax apply to any transaction that takes place in RI (except legal fees, of course), and raise income taxes on the evil rich and greedy corporations — or is that greedy rich and evil corporations (I’m never quite sure if I’m using the latest progressive lingo).
Can’t you just wait for Bob Walsh, Frank Montanaro, Marti Rosenberg and pony tail man to start offering their “solutions” to our little $360 million dollar problem?
Can you spell T-R-A-I-N W-R-E-C-K?

John
John
14 years ago

There is a God. Today I actually heard somebody mention, in all seriousness, the idea of floating a $5 billion pension funding bond to “solve” the underfunding crisis in our state employee pension plans. Where to begin with this magnificent idea? Let’s see. First, let’s be clear about how these transactions work. The bond proceeds are used for risk arbitrage — that is, they are issued in risky equities, hedge funds, real estate and the like. If the return on those investments isn’t sufficient to make the pension (and, one presumes, post retirement health care) payments that are due, the taxpayers get the bill. To put it differently, the issuance of the bonds doesn’t extinguish the government’s pension liability. Second, because the bond proceeds would be used for risk arbitrage, the bonds would not be tax exempt. Given that issuing $5 billion in RI General Obligation bonds would radically change our risk profile, it would be a stretch to get a BBB rating. If that were possible, the yield on those bonds today would be about 6% per year. That means annual interest payments — which would come out of the General Revenue budget — of about $300 million. Granted, some of that would be offset by reduced pension contributions. But consider the other impacts. First, for years RI has played a dangerous game of funding our transportation maintenance expenses — and bond interest — with the proceeds from new bond issues. With all the state’s debt capacity used up, that game is over, and DOT’s General Revenue budget must sharply increase — or its maintenance be seriously cut back. It will also be much harder to issue new bonds for new roads, bridges and the like. The radical increase in the state’s indebtedness, on top of its weak economy… Read more »

John
John
14 years ago

Oops:
There’s a typo in there. The bond proceeds are INVESTED in riskier assets…not issued.

SusanD
SusanD
14 years ago

Good analysis, John. The call to pay for public sector pensions with bonding is grotesque and a major red flag that the state’s (Democrat) elected officials have gone way over the edge with the benefits it offers to public employees.

Show your support for Anchor Rising with a 25-cent-per-day subscription.