Tonight the governor of Rhode Island Lincoln Chafee addressed members of the General Assembly at the state house. He chose tonight to hold the state of the state address and introduce Rhode Island’s budget for the fiscal year 2014.
Mr. Chafee began speaking at 7:04 p.m. EST with the remark that the budget was on time and the earliest ever. His address lasted 26 minutes and was broad cast on Capital TV.
No new taxes
Governor Chafee promised that the new budget would contain no new taxes or fees. He said that “The budget I present to you tonight contains no increase in taxes, fees, or charges of any kind.” Instead he offered Rhode Islanders tax relief, in the form of a lower corporate tax rate and property tax relief. His budget offers the state’s cities and towns $30 million dollars towards property tax relief.
Investment in education
The new budget invests in education. It provides funding for both higher education and workforce development. Rhode Island’s public institutions of higher education will receive $8.2 million dollars from the state to help prevent tuition hikes this year. Governor Chafee offered Rhode Island’s colleges and university this money with the proviso that the institutions find ways the save the amount. He remarked:
“However, the leadership of these institutions must meet me halfway. If they can achieve $6 million in total savings and efficiencies, coupled with my $6 million in additional funding, we can guarantee the students of these schools no tuition increase next year.”
Workforce development would receive $3 million dollars. This funding will go to businesses that provide internships that pay at least minimum wage. Chafee stated that:
“It also is important to bear in mind that Rhode Islanders looking for work need to be ready not only for today’s economy, but for the economy of tomorrow. And Rhode Island employers looking to hire or expand need to have confidence that there will be qualified candidates to fill available positions. Therefore, I propose $3 million in new state support or workforce development initiatives.”
The governor offered a rosy outlook of the future in the state of state tonight saying that the state is headed towards the right direction. Time will tell if his optimism rings true.