In a ceremony today at the State House, Governor Lincoln D. Chafee signed into law the FY 2015 Budget, Bill No. 7133 SUB A as amended relating to making appropriations for the support of the state for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2015.
In addition, he has included a Letter of Transmittal relating the new budget, which is attached. The Letter addresses the need to fund pay raises for state employees.
"As a whole, this budget focuses on strategies that send a clear and consistent message that the leadership in Rhode Island is doing all that it can to make this state better," Governor Chafee said. "I must commend the General Assembly for adopting a budget that honors our debts, funds and improves our infrastructure, invests in the public educational system, recognizes economic growth strategies, protects our environment, and maintains an appropriate level of aid to cities and towns."
"I am very appreciative that the Governor signed the budget. The Assembly concurred with Governor Chafee on a number of his proposals and ideas, like reducing the corporate tax and making a commitment to fully funding our education aid formula, and we are happy to work together to make the changes our state needs. This is a very responsible budget that focuses on the economy and the jobs development that we need in Rhode Island, and I am confident that it will help move our state in the right direction going forward," said House Speaker Nicholas A. Mattiello (D-Dist. 15, Cranston), who added that he appreciated the months of long hours and hard work legislators, particularly his chamber's Finance Committee, dedicated to crafting and refining the plan.
Said President of the Senate M. Teresa Paiva Weed (D-Dist. 13, Newport, Jamestown), "This is a budget that reflects our firm commitment to improving our economy, encouraging business growth and jobs development. It reduces the corporate tax, while maintaining the safety net that protects those in need. It also creates a transportation infrastructure fund to ensure the long term maintenance of our roads and bridges while not increasing tolls. I am grateful to the Senate Finance Committee and its Chairman Daniel Da Ponte for their hard work in ensuring this budget reflects our state's values and needs."
Additionally, he was pleased that the voter bonds he had proposed for infrastructure, higher education, the environment and the arts and culture economy will be included on this year's ballot.
The Governor reiterated his belief that the debate on whether to pay the 38 Studios moral obligation bond ended with the right decision for Rhode Island. He has been unequivocal that we must honor our debts, however painful. He is glad, absent tolling, a reasonable alternative was reached. The reality is we cannot afford to see another bridge completely replaced – at great cost to taxpayers – because of a lack of maintenance.
Governor Chafee believes that Rhode Island needs to be mindful that with any budget we put forth, it must be focused on priorities and strategies that send a clear and consistent message far beyond our borders that Rhode Island is a great place to live and work.