Budget Drops Next Week
Steve Peoples (like the rest of us) is looking for hints concerning the makeup of the Budget that will be revealed next week. Here’s the quick version of Peoples’ report. House Finance Committee Chairman Steven M. Costantino doesn’t want to go the one-time fix route, but isn’t going to shut the door completely. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Stephen D. Alves is focusing on the social welfare programs and is ringing the warning bell to cities and towns that they may be getting less aid. He is also open to one-time fixes. Both he and Constantino had heard of one such idea, Bob Walsh’s “Leverage the Lottery” plan, but weren’t ready to commit.
The AFL-CIO’s George Nee indicated he’s involved in negotiations with the Governor and Legislature. “It’s safe to say that we’re involved in what would be called concession bargaining. Obviously there’s going to be some pain felt by the work force, in addition to what’s already happened.” Furlough days and health care co-shares seem to be on the table. On the other hand, RI Fed of Teacher and Health Pros president Marcia Reback sent a letter fighting for the status quo.
On the tax front, it looks like no hikes are planned (yet) but no further/planned cuts are in the offing.
Perhaps Alves provided the most pragmatic comment. “We’re all grappling with the budget. For the most part, there’s not too much to disagree on because revenues are leading the budget debate.”
Not sure I’m that confident.