Lawmakers to begin 2018 session focused on budget deficit

By: The Associated Press

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — The leaders of Rhode Island’s Democratic-controlled General Assembly will begin the year with a laserlike focus on addressing the state’s budget deficit.

House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello and Senate President Dominick Ruggerio open this year’s legislative session on January 2 facing a budget deficit of about $60 million in the current fiscal year due to overspending and a structural deficit of more than $200 million for the fiscal year beginning July 1.

Mattiello says state departments are not doing enough to curtail their spending. Ruggerio says he is concerned about potential cuts to federal funding for states.

Lawmakers will consider how the state can help repair schools and whether to help pay for a new stadium for the Pawtucket Red Sox.

They will also be looking for ways to address the opioid epidemic.

©WLNE-TV / ABC6 2017