Rhode Island Must Solve This Problem
Here’s the Budget Office document showing the always-too-optimistic early revenue estimate for the state of Rhode Island: PDF. As you’ve likely read, the deficit is projected to be $219.8 million. It wouldn’t be surprising to find that number come in hundreds of millions of dollars too low.
The reality is that Rhode Island has to cut a structural billion dollars out of its budget. Over the past few years, we’ve been chasing a sinking chest deeper under water.
Table 3, on the last page of the PDF, shows the decreases in revenue by source. Wading through the sloppiness of the table (mostly misplaced and missing minus signs and parentheses), the take-away is that raising taxes is not an option. Revenue is shrinking because people are doing less of the things that generate it. What’s frightening is that Rhode Islanders don’t seem interested in doing anything about it.