Gov. McKee signs $13.1 billion state budget into law

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) — Governor Dan McKee officially signed Rhode Island’s budget for fiscal year 2022 into law Tuesday morning.

The $13.1 billion budget provides funding for social services, like affordable housing, nursing homes, homeless programs and education programs.

It also includes $15 million to purchase and install body cameras for every uniformed police officer in the state.

“I think [the body cameras] are going to be very revealing,” said Senate President, Dominick Ruggerio. “I think it’s going to help with public safety.”

Also included in the budget is an extra $10 million for the troubled Department of Children Youth and Families. The Department will be able to hire an additional 91 employees to help address an influx of case loads caused by the pandemic.

“We wanted to do that because we want [DCYF] to succeed,” said House Speaker Joe Shekarchi.

The budget is $2 billion more than Governor McKee’s original proposal. It will not raise taxes for Rhode Islanders. 

Instead, money from the federal government for coronavirus relief will be used to fund many of the new initiatives. 

While democratic leaders call the budget a win and tout the fact that taxes are not going up, many republicans in the general assembly voted against it.

“It kicks fiscal responsibilities down the road until next year,” the House GOP Caucus said in a statement.

“[It’s] a ‘feel good’ budget that only delays structural deficits,” the statement continued. “It does nothing to alleviate or reduce the future tax burdens on Rhode Island residents and businesses. It merely ignores our failing economic issues.”

While the signing ceremony was held Tuesday, fiscal year 2022 began back on July 1.

Categories: News, Rhode Island