Chafee’s Budget: Healthcare and Social Services
Thursday, January 16, 2014
By way of comparison, education is 27.6% of the budget, "general government" is 17.7% -- and public safety is 6.2%.
"Based on what we heard, as we haven't had a chance to read the budget yet, the Governor gets it right in terms of calling for additional investments in education - at all ages - to combat income inequality and poverty. Education and workforce training should be the cornerstone of the state's economy development strategy," said Kate Brewster with the Economic Progress Institute.
"We are concerned, however, that there are tens of millions of dollars in new tax breaks," continued Brewster. "In particular, while we hope that Congress acts to tax internet purchases, we believe that money should be used to put more money in the pockets of low-wage workers and make our state's tax structure fairer by expanding the state's Earned Income Tax Credit, not giving another tax break to a small number of large corporations.
Of his lasting legacy to the economic progress community, Brewster said it was "Governor Chafee's steadfast investment in education and training, and his expansion of health insurance coverage through Medicaid and Healthsource RI has greatly benefited low- and modest-income Rhode Islanders."
Jim Ryczek with the RI Coalition for the Homeless offered his vantage point on social services in the budget.
"We are pleased that the Governor allocated $750,000 for rental vouchers for Rhode Islanders experiencing homelessness in his proposed FY 2015 budget. This will ensure that those who are currently being housed, due to last year’s funding by the General Assembly, will continue to maintain their housing. It is estimated that approximately 125 Rhode Islanders will move from homelessness to stable housing because of the leadership by the General Assembly in last year’s legislative session. It is encouraging that the Governor is proposing to continue that funding."
"This is a positive step in the right direction to ensure full implementation of Opening Doors RI, the State’s Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness. We look forward to working with members of the General Assembly to move the state’s investment closer to the $3.4 million called for in the State’s plan," said Ryczek
Lobbyist Leonard Lopes for the Rhode Island State Nurses Association touched upon what he saw as potentially being an issue with the healthcare provisions of the budget.
"We understand there may be some cuts to hospitals, and we'd have to consider those cuts because they may impact our ability to deliver quality care to patients that we serve in RI," said Lopes. "I haven't seen the budget yet in its entirety -- I'll refrain from further comment until we delve into the content in further detail."
Related Slideshow: Check Out The Grades: Rhode Island Hospitals Report Card
A recent survey released by The Leapfrog Group assigns a Hospital Safety Score, using the report card system of A to F to each of the hospitals in Rhode Island. These grades are based on expert analysis of injuries, infections and errors that cause harm or death during a hospital stay.
Let's see how each of Rhode Island's hospitals were graded from highest to lowest:
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