Supplemental Spending Bill
Here’s the supplemental budget that our legislators are being asked to read, digest and pass this evening. I’m short for time and in a hurry, but here’s what I can gather for “highlights”:
Reduction of almost 300 Full-Time Equivalent Positions (ie; jobs cuts)
Amendment that essentially kills the future privatization of government services.
Makes the accumulation of “good time” easier for early release of prisoners.
“Provided that any family where an applicant adult has reached or exceeded his or her sixty (60) month time limit, no person in that family shall be eligible for cash assistance under this chapter as of June 1, 2008. This provision shall not apply to the minor child(ren) for whom there is a caretaker relative deemed responsible for the care of the minor child(ren) due to the absence of a parent.”
Removes medical assistance benefits from non-citizen children “who w[ere] lawfully admitted for
permanent residence on or after August 22, 1996 or who first become otherwise entitled to reside in the United States on or after August 22, 1996 and was receiving medical assistance on or before December 31, 2006.” Also REMOVED the previous $10,000 family income cap.
RITE CARE to families at 133% of Poverty Level instead of 185%
Health care subsidies for Child Care providers are repealed.
Council set up to investigate whether or to what degree Central Falls can contribute to its own education funding.
“For the fiscal year ending June 30, 2008 the apportionments of state aid as derived through the calculations as required by subsections a through c of this section shall be adjusted downward statewide by $10,000,000.”
Limits the total amount of allowable “tax credits to be claimed against the state’s tax revenues [not] exceed twenty million dollars ($20,000,000) for tax year 2007 or forty million dollars
8 ($40,000,000) for tax years 2008 through 2017.”
Reduces the PUC from 5 to 3 commissioners.
No more “good driving” passes: fee = fine.
General Laws in Chapter 45-19 entitled “Relief of Injured and Deceased Fire Fighters and Police Officers” amended to be applicable prior to April 1, 2008.
Cell phone ban while driving is imposed.
Last week, when I took part in a taping of A Lively Experiment, Ron St. Pierre asked whether it was wrong for state lawmakers to take a spring break with the state facing such dire fiscal problems. Lou Pulner offered the best response, describing how the traditional last-minute passage of a cascade of legislation poses a greater concern.
Now, House Finance, on the second day after the legislative break, says it is expected to vote today on the supplemental budget. While a small number of individuals controlling the process is status quo on Smith Hill, it hardly seems to offer the chance for thorough consideration of the budget.