State House, Providence, RI – Rhode Island House Republicans are submitting a suite of amendments for the proposed $13B FY22 state budget in an effort to reprioritize children in state care, bolster Rhode Island’s struggling small business economy, curtail unchecked executive powers during a declared State of Emergency and properly fund mismanaged core government services.
The budget includes millions of dollars in non-recurring federal pandemic relief funds which saved the state from huge projected deficits, but does little to fundamentally address the unsustainable big-expense special interest projects versus tackling strategic investments in core government services. The FY22 “feel good” budget only delays structural deficits. It does nothing to alleviate or reduce the future tax burden on Rhode Island residents and businesses. It merely ignores our failing economic issues and kicks the fiscal responsibilities down the road to be dealt with next year.
House Republicans believe the following amendments would address some of relevant the omissions in the FY22 budget:
It has been clearly demonstrated that the state has poorly managed and given low priority to government resources dedicated to assist the most vulnerable in state care. Year after year, House Republicans have championed life-saving, meaningful reforms and dedicated resources. Those concerns have largely fallen on deaf years by the ruling party. Although this budget addresses some of the issues raised, it still misses the mark in the creation of true reform and fiscal accountability for Rhode Island residents.
– DCYF Amendments: Mandate a top down performance audit of the Department of Children, Youth and Families. Throwing good money after bad without addressing the management, social worker caseload and culture issues is a waste of taxpayer resources. In addition, a separate amendment will require DCYF to compile a report every quarter to chronical their progress as they move toward legislatively mandated accreditation.
– Eleanor Slater Amendment: Allocate $100,000 for the preparation and completion of a feasibility study for the continued operation of the Beasley Building at Zambarano hospital. This budget admittedly does little to address the management, fiscal appropriation and care issues reveled over the past year. Once again, Rhode Island’s most vulnerable, with limited options other than state care have been left behind.
· Rhode Island Small Business Support
– Rhode Island’s small business economy is still hurting from shutdowns due to the pandemic. House Republicans propose small business assistance grants by reserving
50% of the $30M motion picture tax credits for exclusive use by Rhode Island
businesses or individuals.
– Redirect ReBuild RI grants to RI Small Businesses.
– Provide Rhode Island businesses that utilized PPP loans an extended tax return and payable date of April 15, 2022.
· Executive Powers
– The lack of legislative oversight and transparency during the pandemic was dereliction of duty by the General Assembly. House Republicans propose an automatic review of Executive Orders during a Declared State of Emergency after 90 days. The budget calls for 180 days, which is simply too long.
· Core Government Services Management
– Provide $1M for forest fire prevention to clear and update fire access roads across the state. Rhode Island has been in and out of severe drought conditions for the past two years. Investment in this infrastructure is long overdue and necessary to prevent a major catastrophe, as in the great 1942 fires which took 3,400 firefighters and soldiers four days to extinguish. The fires were attributed to increased fallen timber due to the 1938 hurricane.
– Require Fiscal appropriation comparisons reports from year to year to discuss discrepancies in allocated funds.
– Add a statement of legislative intent to bills filed in House and Senate Finance Committees
– Redistribute monies for airport impact aid to benefit all state run airports