Report: Providence’s budget woes will worsen without action

By The Associated Press 

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) _ Providence’s budget woes are continuing to widen.

Mayor Jorge Elorza released key findings Monday from a forthcoming study suggesting the capital city’s annual deficits will only continue to grow in the coming decade. It projects a $176-million shortfall by 2026 if no action taken.

The study says Providence continues to struggle with an underfunded pension system, growing healthcare and benefit costs, cuts to state aid and deferred maintenance on city roads, bridges and schools.

Elorza says city budgeting “rewards short-term thinking” that results in “one time fixes,” making it nearly impossible to budget long term.

The study is part of a project Providence launched using a White House grant to explore new budgeting options. The mayor’s office says the full report with recommendations will be released in the coming weeks.

(C) The Associated Press 2016