Legislature’s Budget Coming on Friday
Friday is the day the legislature’s version of the state budget will be unveiled, according to Steve Peoples of the Projo’s 7-to-7 blog…
Ending weeks of speculation on Smith Hill, legislative leaders have announced their plan to unveil the 2008 budget.While you’re waiting with baited breath for the legislature’s plan, for some light reading, check out this report on the fiscal health of the states compiled by the National Governors’ Association (h/t the WPRO-AM news department)…
The release is scheduled for 2 p.m. Friday in House Finance Committee Room 35 in the State House basement.
The committee posted the meeting at 2 p.m. today, as 48 hours notice is required for all public meetings. If the schedule goes as planned, legislators will review the budget article by article Friday afternoon.
The process can take as little as a couple hours or can run through the night. Once approved by the committee, there is a mandatory seven-day waiting period before the full House can vote on the budget.
Most states continue to experience stable financial conditions in fiscal 2007. This has been due in large part to continued revenue growth that has exceeded budgeted expectations. As a result, many states have been able to absorb persistent and mounting spending pressures in areas such as health care, infrastructure, education, employee pension systems, and employee benefits….Guess who was one of the three states unable to pay for everything it had budgeted for?
Although most states continue to experience stable fiscal conditions, a handful of states have not been so fortunate. Three states were forced to make midyear budget cuts totaling approximately $170 million in fiscal 2007.
If Rhode Island is facing continuing shortfalls when the rest of the country is booming, what’s going to happen in a time of national-scale economic slowdown, if the structural causes of our fiscal problems haven’t been addressed?
Kate Brewster will demand that we raise taxes still higher, and scream that the rich and corporations aren’t paying their fair share.
Nothing will change until RI becomes the first state to effectively declare bankruptcy (e.g., via a dramatic cut in state aid which triggers widespread municipal bankruptcies).
If nothing else, this budget process has made it clear that the public sector unions and poverty advocates who dominate the Democratic party are either unwilling or unable to change on their own, and would rather bet on their coming out ahead in the upcoming fiscal collapse.
Time will tell who is right.
Relax. Murphy, Montalbano, etc. will make a big show of standing up to the so-called “poverty pimps.” It’s not like the Dems have the most progressive, enlightened leadership in the world.
They’ll be left with enough cash to dish out to their lawyers, consultants and lobbyist pals. If you consider Kate Brewster such a threat, you’re overestimating her powers.
If state-aid to education gets flat-funded, it means that somebody has the clout to convince the leadership to redirect funding away from a program that most people would support growing at about the rate of inflation (public education) and to some special interest.
Governor Carcieri this afternoon laid out a plan to “solve the state’s budget crisis” that includes seeking legislation to freeze all state wages at current levels and cutting 1,000 state employees.
Carcieri said the employee reductions would save taxpayers $26 million in fiscal 2008 and another $40 million the following year.
The state is projected to be in a deficit at the moment. Carcieri says his plan today aims at making “fundamental reforms” to avoid future budget problems.
The governor’s proposal, which is being announced now at a State House news conference, also calls for:
— Renegotiating the health-care plan used by state employees by increasing the co-pays those employees would have to make at doctors’ visits, emergency room visits and for prescription drugs.
— “Putting out to bid every state service that could possibly be performed more efficiently by the private sector.” The governor will form a Competition in Government Task Force to review services where that could possibly work.
Carcieri “ruled out” using proceeds from the sale of tobacco bonds — the state’s share of tobacco settlement.
“Being well run means having a government that delivers quality service at a price our taxpayers can afford, and which is sustainable over the long-term,” Carcieri said in remarks prepared for delivery. “That is not the case today.”