Providence, R.I. – Governor-elect Lincoln D. Chafee announced today that he will keep another campaign promise and convene a budget summit December 17 at Rhode Island College (RIC). The goal of the event, which will include representatives from a variety of relevant groups and organizations, is to identify and evaluate the causes of and solutions to Rhode Island’s structural deficit.
“This summit, with all relevant stakeholders and experts involved, is the first step in leading Rhode Island away from recurring structural deficits and toward a balanced budget,” Chafee said. “Our goal is a budget that provides adequate investments in state services, fosters realistic expectations on the part of taxpayers, and ensures fiscal stability that will allow existing businesses to thrive and attract outside employers to bring good, high-paying jobs to our state. Fiscal stability is essential for job creation and economic growth.”
Chafee had pledged during his gubernatorial campaign to convene a budget summit during the transition period to address in a group setting the state’s significant deficits and to discuss an initial framework for a balanced budget. The Governor-elect’s transition team has already begun to hold meetings with a team of budget experts – including Rosemary Booth Gallogly, current Director of the Department of Administration and Acting Director of the Department of Revenue; Peder Schaefer, Associate Director of the RI League of Cities and Towns; Stephen McAllister, former State Budget Director; George Welly, former Deputy State Budget Director; John Murray, former Assistant Director of Finance at the Department of Mental Health, Retardation and Hospitals (now the Department of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities and Hospitals); and John Simmons, Executive Director of the Rhode Island Public Expenditure Council – to examine the considerable challenges of the budget process, as well as opportunities to reverse the pattern of systemic deficits.