House Committee Passes Controversial Rhode Island Budget - ABC6 - Providence, RI and New Bedford, MA News, Weather


House Committee Passes Controversial Rhode Island Budget

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by ABC6 Chief Political Reporter Mark Curtis

The House Finance Committee had a mix of good and bad news.

First the good: there will be no tax increase of any kind in Rhode Island, and college tuitions won't go up either.

Now the bad: plans to cut the corporate tax from 9 to 7 percent have been scrapped.

That was key to Governor Chafee's plans to bring more jobs to Rhode Island.

In the end, there was not enough revenue to fund it.

State Rep. Helio Melo, Chairman of the House Finance Committee said, "We came up 51 million dollars short. And that was the start of the disappointment. But the economy in Rhode Island is not growing."

The budget would bring back the state's historic tax credits, but a controversial plan to renovate the "Superman" building, or any other, would be capped at 5 million dollars:

ABC6 Chief Political Reporter Mark Curtis said,

"As always all of these items are subject to amendment or elimination from the budget. But we are getting down to it. The General Assembly is set to wrap up its session next week."

The biggest controversy:  2–point-5 million dollars in the budget to start paying back bond holders from the ‘38 Studios' disaster.

Many lawmakers were conflicted.

State Rep. Art Handy, (D-Rhode Island) said, "I am of the opinion that we probably should pay it. I actually emotionally kind of think we shouldn't. But intellectually I think I am at a place now where I feel like we probably should."

But the ‘38 Studios' bond bailout could eventually cost Rhode Island over 100 million dollars.

State Rep. Doreen Costa (R-Rhode Island) said, "The whole budget is bad because it's always too much money, but it's definitely no on the '38 Studios' payback."

The budget totals 8–point–2 billion dollars.

The Finance Committee vote was 12-0, with the two Republican members abstaining.



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