Elorza Budget Proposal Calls for Municipal ID Cards, First Increase in Education Funding in 7 Years

Thursday, April 27, 2017


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Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza gave his Fiscal Year 2018 budget address on Wednesday night, in which he proposed the first increase in education funding in seven years — and included a call for municipal ID cards. 

The $734,276,249 budget purportedly holds the line on residential and commercial property tax rates and calls for increasing funding for early education, the Providence Public School District (PPSD), senior services, and educational and occupational opportunities for youth, as well as investments to improve infrastructure and provide for new police and fire academies.

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The budget also calls an additional $15 million for school repairs, bringing the total spend on education infrastructure under the Elorza administration $40 million. 

“[The budget] contains lots of progressive innovations,” said Council President Luis Aponte on Wednesday following the address. "It really charts a different course in terms of how the city relates to its residents…it’s a departure from the way budgets were conducted in the past."

Paid Leave, ID Cars

Elorza also touched upon the following, pertaining to paid family leave -- and ID cards. 

"While our commitment to our families begins at childbirth, if we’re serious about supporting our children from cradle to career, then we have to support their parents as well," said Elorza "That is why, I am proud to share that Providence will become the first city in the State of Rhode Island to offer Paid Parental Leave to our city employees. In the coming year, we will implement a policy that will offer new parents up to six weeks of paid parental leave to care for their newborn or adopted children. This benefit will begin for all non-union employees forthwith and we hope to extend it as union contracts are negotiated in the years to come” said Elorza. Providence will lead by example and ensure that our employees are able to care for their children and get them off to the right start in life. It’s simply the right thing to do.
"People are flocking to cities that value diversity and embody progressive values. It is in that same vein, that I propose that we join cities such as San Francisco, New York City, Los Angeles, Washington D.C. and many others and institute a municipal ID program where people have access to an ID card that tells them that they belong. Whether you’re an immigrant who’s looking for a way to legally identify yourself, you’re homeless and don’t have the means, you’re transgender and want to self-identify, you’re a young person who wants your first bank account, or you’re just a resident who wants to display your Providence pride, this helps bring us together. Municipal IDs have been endorsed by police departments, supported by immigration advocates, applauded by the LGBTQ community, and welcomed by homeless advocates. And Providence will be the next city to say that every resident matters," said Elorza.

"Providence is proud to be a progressive pro-growth city and that’s exactly what makes us so attractive to companies. Urban studies author Richard Florida has found that if you’re looking to see which cities have the strongest knowledge economies, look for cities that value diversity and tolerance. Startups and tech companies want to be where the talent is; and the talent is flocking to cities like ours. We are perfectly positioned to take advantage of this."


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