Question #2 for David Cicilline on the Category 5 That’s Hit Providence
Reflecting on the early years of his mayoralty, former Providence Mayor David Cicilline told WRNI (1290AM) interviewer Scott MacKay that “from the first time that I took office, there was always a gap between revenues and expenditures” and that he and his administration “began to chip away at that gap”.
According to the annual budget figures maintained by the Rhode Island Division of Municipal Finance, the chipping-away began with a major spending increase. In Mayor Cicilline’s very first budget (FY2004), municipal spending increased 19.5% over the prior fiscal year, over $40,000,000 in dollar-terms. This was a structural increase as no reductions from one year to the next would occur in the Providence municipal budget until FY2010 (see the table below the fold).
Later in the interview, now-Congressman Cicilline attributed Providence’s budget problems, at least in the last couple of years, to “very, very serious cuts from the state”, “this incredibly hard recession” and “the loss of federal education stimulus funds”. If Congressman Cicilline believes these to be the primary factors which created the shortfall passed on to Mayor Angel Tavares, doesn’t this imply that the Cicilline fiscal-management plan assumed that $40,000,000+ of annual spending, over and above the spending already in place when he took office, was going to be covered by state-aid increases and/or economic growth? If not, where was the money to pay for the permanent increase in the budget supposed to have come from?
(Anchor Rising will of course avoid asking any snarky questions about whether Mayor Cicilline planned on using stimulus funds in FY2009 and after to defray costs, when his administration decided to implement the major budget jump in FY2004).
Table: Providence General Fund Expenditure Budgets. Source: Division of Municipal Affairs of the Rhode Island Department of Revenue.
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