RI Senate Approves $7.8B Budget

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) – The Rhode Island Senate has approved a $7.8 billion budget that cuts aid to cities, towns and school districts and also scales back pension benefits for future retirees.

The Senate passed the budget 30-6 on Friday, about 15 hours after it was passed by the House of Representatives.

The budget now heads to Republican Gov. Don Carcieri, who must decide whether to sign it or veto it.

Democrats hold a veto-proof majority in the General Assembly.

The budget does not include any broad-based tax increases, though it gives cities and towns more flexibility to tax car owners for the value of their vehicles. It cuts more than $150 million from municipalities and school districts and limits cost-of-living increases for future state workers.

The budget also hikes certain fees, while restoring funding to some of the social services cuts  proposed by Carcieri.
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