Rhode Island Spending – the High Points and Low Points
Marc Comtois has noted the revised (upward) state operating deficit which stems from a decline in income and sales tax revenue. Before we go bounding off to look for replacement tax revenue, let’s take a quick look at “How Rhode Island’s State and Local Expenditures Compare – 2006 Edition”, an analysis compiled by RIPEC.
Per $1,000 of personal income:
A review of the data shows that Rhode Island
• ranked in the top 10 states for per $1,000 of personal income expenditures for cash assistance payments (3rd), Medicaid/vendor payments (7th), fire protection (1st), and housing and community development (10th);
• ranked in the bottom 10 states for per $1,000 of personal income expenditures for
higher education (43rd); highways (44th); and parks and recreation (46th).
And on a per capita basis, Rhode Island’s expenditures
• ranked in the top 10 states for elementary and secondary education (8th),
Medicaid/vendor payments (4th), cash assistance payments (3rd), police (9th), and fire (1st);
• ranked in the bottom 10 states for higher education (46th); highways (46th); and parks and recreation (42nd)
RIPEC’s accompanying press release sums it up thusly:
The Ocean State spends more in per capita and $1,000 of personal income for public welfare programs, including Medicaid, as well as public safety than most other states. Conversely, direct general expenditures for higher education and highways per capita and per $1,000 of personal income are less in Rhode Island.
It is clear, when lawmakers tackle this deficit in January, that the first order of business will be to pick up a red pen and spend some time on the expenditure side of the budget. RIPEC has outlined the column headings that should be focused on – as well as the ones which should, at a minimum, be left untouched.