Chafee’s Budget Calls for Big Borrowing and Sparks Reaction
Thursday, January 16, 2014
While Chafee’s proposed budget is safe, his final quote did capture the immortal words of Taylor Swift, “RI’s a good place, a really good place.”
For those looking for bold action and dynamic new policies the Governor’s budget was lacking. For those seeking for caretakers approach, the speech and the proposed fiscal policies were a dream come true.
Big Borrowing is a Big Focus
The biggest winners in the budget may be URI and the environment. Chafee proposed $125 million engineering building for the University of Rhode Island and $75 million bond issue targeting environmental issues was a windfall. Total borrowing as outlined in the Chafee budget was $275 million in new borrowing authority. The General Obligation bond approach was a throwback to the era of big bond issues proposed in the 1980s by then Governor Ed DiPrete.
House Majority Leader Nick Mattiello raised questions about the borrowing strategy, “… there are a lot of bonds proposed, we have to carefully scrutinize any spending. There are going to be cuts - there's a lot of specifics we didn't get. I look forward to the finance committee vetting it.”
Moreover, the borrowing strategy seems inconsistent with the previous Chafee policy of creating dedicated funding for infrastructure financing. Chafee's policy was best exemplified in his fight to implement a toll on the Sakonnet Bridge and to use the revenue to support maintenance.
Reaction to Budget
One of the harshest criticisms of the budget strategy came from Lisa Blais of OSTPA. “Shameful. All Rhode Islanders deserve more from the Governor's office and our legislature. Where was the road map to dig out of our long term structural deficit? We need more from state leadership than we have seen or we are likely to see if Governor Chafee's presentation is an indication of what our legislators will accomplish in 2014.”
"Audubon is pleased that Governor Chafee has recommended $75 million in bonds to restore moderately contaminated industrial sites (Brownfields) and to provide monies for municipal water and wastewater infrastructure improvements. These measures will improve health for Rhode Islanders and be attractive to businesses. This is the capital budget, and we look forward to similar focus on environmental protection and enhancement in the operational budget," said Eugenia Marks with the Audoban Society of RI.
Leading legislators however raised questions about the borrowing, including Senator Lou DiPalma (D). “I liked the focus on education, job training and infrastructure investment. The challenge I see is the bonds proposed -- I think we're looking at north of $300 million in investments. I believe they're the right areas, but it's the magnitude that's the concern."
"The work we've been doing on how to fund our roads and bridges -- we have a $1 billion problem over 10 years. $80 million is a good initiative, but it's not 1/10 of what we need. From a roads and bridges perspective, the problem has gotten there from our lack of attention,” said Senator Lou DiPalma.
"If there was one area where we had an opportunity to infuse money, workforce development is one area I'd like to see a greater investment. Tuesday we'll be releasing a report, "Rhodes Back to Work," where along with my colleagues we'll release those initiatives,” said Paiva-Weed.
Support from Former Rivals and Mayors
Chafee's former rival and almost opponent before he bowed out of the race for Governor in 2014, General Treasurer Gina Raimondo complemented the Governor on his budget, "I thought he did an excellent job. I admire the Governor, he has dedicated his life to public service and always puts the people of Rhode island first. It's a hard time to govern. I like what I heard in terms of what I heard in investing in the future -- eduction, workforce training. We have to see the details, it's the beginning of a long process."
Another voice supportive of the Governor's budget is Pawtucket Mayor Don Grebien (D) who lauded the approach and the funding for cities and towns. The Chafee budget supports a total of $72 million in municipal aid. "It was an interesting budget...you have to digest it, but it increases school aid, overall state aid to cities and towns, not a bad budget. I give it a B...once we digest it, it might make it to an A," said Grebien.
Related Slideshow: Best and Worst Run States in New England
How well do the New England states stack up against each other in terms of how they're currently run?
According to Wall Street 24/7, looking at a state's debt per capita, budget deficit, unemployment, median household income, and percentage below the poverty line are all indicators of a state's level operational success - or lack thereof.
Below are how the New England states were ranked compared to each other, based on data from 2012 -- as well as the "best run" and "worst run" states in the country.
- Lisa Blais: RI’s Budget—State Pension, Tolls + The Big Win
- RI State Report: Chafee Out + Budget Surpluses
- A LIVELY EXPERIMENT: Providence City Budget
- CHAFEE BUDGET: $20 Million In New Municipal Aid
- Chafee’s Budget: $76 Million in New Taxes
- DESIGN LINE: 10 Kitchen Upgrades On A Budget
- House Budget Unveiled Today - Key Issues to Watch
- NEW: Final Providence Budget Vote Tonight
- NEW: RISC Calls House Budget a ‘Mixed Bag’
- PODCAST: EXCLUSIVE: Providence Budget Still Faces Crushing Deficit
- State Leaders, Experts Call Chafee Budget ‘A Good First Step’
- College Guide 2013: Best Places To Eat On A College Budget
- RI’s Worst Speed Traps? Balancing the Budget Through Tickets
- A LIVELY EXPERIMENT: Providence City Budget Pt. 2
- CHAFEE BUDGET: $3 Million for Workforce Development
- Chafee’s Budget: A Commitment to Municipalities
- DESIGN LINE: 10 Ways To Freshen Up Your House On a Budget
- Insiders Weigh in on State Budget Proposal
- NEW: Governor Signs Budget into Law
- NEW: Reed Says Budget Cuts Heating Aid by $8 Million
- PODCAST: State Budget Cuts May Force Homeless Numbers To Skyrocket
- State Report: Chafee’s Budget, Unemployment Rate & Gay Marriage Vote
- Council and Mayor Battle Business Tax Rate: Budget Moves Forward
- NEW: RI House, Senate Finance Approve Budget
- Rob Horowitz: At Last: A National Budget Agreement
- BACK TO SCHOOL 2011: Budget Tips for College-Bound Kids
- CHAFEE BUDGET: $30.4 Million More for School Aid; Tuition Freeze at State Schools
- Chafee’s Budget: A Tax Amnesty Period
- Dan Lawlor: Budget Cuts Devastate Cities
- Lawmaker Wants Budget Surplus to Cover Pension Lawsuits
- NEW: Governor’s Budget Honors Local Artist
- NEW: Rep. Baldelli Hunt Wants Investiation into Repeal of Budget Amendment
- Providence Audit Raises Deep Concerns on Taveras’ Budget
- Taveras Unveils Budget: City Council Reacts
- Carol Anne Costa: RI Budget—What Would Tony Soprano Do?
- Governor Chafee Issues Statement on RI Budget
- NEW: Sequester Navy Budget Cuts Cancel RI’s Blue Angels, Navy Week
- Russell Moore: 38 Studios Taints RI House Budget
- BREAKING: City Council Grants Final Approval to Providence Budget
- COLLEGE GUIDE: Best Places to Eat On a College Budget
- Chafee’s Budget: A Win for Education
- Donna Perry: Time for a Bold, New Budget Process
- Memo: Providence Budget Deficit is 50% Larger than Administration Claims
- NEW: Hinckley Rips Dems for Failing to Pass Budget
- NEW: Rhode Island’s Lead Poisoning Prevention Program Threatened by CDC Budget Cuts
- RI to Face $307M Budget Hole from Lost Lottery Revenue
- The Cellar: Budget Blended Wines
- Chafee’s Budget: Economic Development and Job Creation
- House Leadership Scrambles for Budget Vote on 38 Studios Provision
- Providence Budget Woes: Public Safety Chaos
- BREAKING: Mayor Signs $614 Million Budget Into Law
- Chafee Budget Submitted in Near-Record Time
- Chafee’s Budget: Cuts in Health and Human Services
- EXCLUSIVE: Providence Budget Still Faces Crushing Deficit
- NEW: Avedisian Unveils FY2013 Budget Proposal
- NEW: Hinckley Rips Senate Dems for Not Producing Budget
- NEW: Sen. Whitehouse Praises President Obama’s Budget
- Report Card: Rhode Island Leaders Divided Over Chafee’s Budget
- The Cellar: Budget-Friendly Blends from Italy + Portugal
- Chafee’s Budget: Education
- LISTEN- RI Leaders React to General Assembly Budget
- Brown Sets New Budget - Unclear on Increased Payments to Providence
- Chafee Considering Tax Hikes To Deal With Budget Shortfall
- City Budget: Tax Bills Could Go Out This Week
- Guest MINDSETTER™ David Cicilline: Republican Budget is Hardly Courageous
- NEW: Budget Commission Appointed in Woonsocket
- NEW: Langevin Supports Obama’s Overall Budget Message
- New England Vintage Chic: 5 Ways to Find Outdoor Gear On A Budget
- State Budget Cuts May Force Homeless Numbers To Skyrocket
- What to Watch for in Governor Chafee’s Budget
- Chafee’s Budget: Healthcare and Social Services
- Last Minute Budget Item Could Mean Millions for Electric Boat
- RI Leaders React to General Assembly Budget
- A LIVELY EXPERIMENT State Budget Plan
- Budget Heads to Governor’s Desk Despite Outrage from Groups
- Chafee Says No New Taxes in FY2014 Budget
- Commissioner Gist’s Budget: Consultants Cash In
- Guest MINDSETTER™ Terry Gorman: E-Verify Can Solve RI’s Budget Problems
- NEW: Chafee Appoints Budget Commission for East Providence
- NEW: Mixed Reviews on Budget from Domestic Violence Coalition
- New State Budget: Winners and Losers
- State House Report: Budget Passes, Campaign Finances & Minimum Wage
- Which Communities Get the Most State Aid in Chafee’s Budget?
- Chafee’s Budget: Taxes
- Lisa Blais: Providence Goes After Water, Homeowners To Fix Budget
- RI State Report: 2014 Budget Highlights
- A LIVELY EXPERIMENT State Budget and Pension Reform
- CHAFEE BUDGET: $11.2 Million for ‘Shovel-Ready’ Programs
- Chafee’s Budget: $200 Million in Ballot Proposals
- Congressional Delegation Says GOP Budget Proposal Would Devastate RI
- House Budget Overwhelmingly Approved
- NEW: Cicilline Says Budget Problems can be Addressed without Cutting Medicare
- NEW: Peter Marino Named Director of the New Office of Management & Budget
- Overspending or Underfunded? Providence School Budget in Crisis
- State House Report: House Budget, Gambling & Compassion Centers
Enjoy this post? Share it with others.
Commenting is not available in this channel entry.