BREAKING: Budget Passes Senate
It’s not online, yet, but the Senate has emailed a press release announcing passage of the budget:
The Senate today voted to approve a $7.76 billion state budget for the 2010 fiscal year that closes a $660 million deficit while avoiding cuts to school aid, pharmaceutical assistance to the elderly and disabled, and welfare and dental benefits for the poor.
The budget bill (2009-H 5983Aaa), which passed the House Wednesday and has now been transmitted to the governor, includes $60 million in pension savings and $58 million in cuts across state office budgets, and avoids increasing the sales tax or income taxes or creating any new taxes on services.
And now — in the absence of new policies that will improve Rhode Island’s health — we begin the clock on accumulating “unexpected” costs and shortfalls, putting the fall/winter deficit announcement at… what? I’ll go with $340 million, which puts the total realistic deficit that the state ought to be addressing right now at a cool billion.
The governor should veto the beast… at least to let Rhode Islanders know that it’s no good.