RI House members briefed on budget, will vote on plan Friday - ABC6 - Providence, RI and New Bedford, MA News, Weather

RI House members briefed on budget, will vote on plan Friday

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By John Krinjak

Email: jkrinjak@abc6.com

Twitter: @johnkrinjakABC6

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) -- Members of Rhode Island's House of Representatives got their first look Tuesday at the budget they'll soon be voting on.

"I believe the house priorities are well-addressed in the budget," said House Speaker Nick Mattiello. 

"Great budget. I'm really very happy," said Rep. Patricia Serpa. 

Most members are glad Human Services funding will be restored, including raises for home care workers.

"Absolutely," said Serpa. "I always say they're the ones who do god's work. We need to take care of them."

Speaker Mattiello, though, is afraid money isn't enough, and is worried about larger issues in that department.

"I think we have systemic problems," said Mattiello. 

Minority Leader Patricia Morgan wants to amend the budget to study those problems.

"To look into the future and know what we're going to be faced with," said Morgan. 

Morgan is not the only Republican also concerned with the budget's total price tag.

"We've doubled our budget in 10 years. That's a concern," said Rep. Bob Lancia. 

"We need to do something about reining in the growth of government, because our citizens are having a hard time paying for it," said Morgan. 

One item not in the budget right now--the new PawSox stadium, though the Speaker says the Finance Committee has been tweaking that bill.

"I'm not going to speculate. We will continue to work on it, and see where that takes us," said Mattiello. 

Senate leaders hope that happens sooner than later--with Senate Finance Chair William Conley saying he thinks it's "very important" that the PawSox legislation is completed this session. 

Regardless, Conley sees a smoother road ahead for the budget than last year. 

"I don't want to predict anything, but i don't see any issues that should result in an impasse," said Conley. 

As for sports betting, the state is working to finalize a contract with a vendor in the next few days.

The hope is to work those details into the budget before the full house takes their vote on Friday.

The senate is set to take up the spending plan next week.

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