Proposal Invests in Growth to Build a New Rhode Island Economy
PROVIDENCE, R.I. - Governor Gina M. Raimondo today submitted her Fiscal Year 2017 budget. Rhode Island created more than 8,000 jobs last year, the most created in a single year since 2000, and our unemployment rate fell more than any other state in the nation. The Governor's proposal seeks to build on that progress by making significant investments in growth to build a new economy where everyone can "make it in Rhode Island."
"Last year, I worked closely with House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello, Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed, and leaders in both chambers to grow our economy," Raimondo said. "The General Assembly overwhelmingly supported a suite of economic development tools focused on putting people back to work -- those efforts are starting to show results. However, more remains to be done. We need more skills, more jobs, and higher incomes."
For the second year, the Governor proposed a balanced budget that:
• includes no broad-based tax increases;
• invests in strengthening neighborhood schools and in building skills that matter;
• makes it cheaper and easier to do business in order to attract new businesses and help our existing businesses grow;
• makes work pay for Rhode Island families;
• protects the health and safety of our residents;
• and modernizes government.
"For too many years, Rhode Island has seen a decline in advanced industries and the wages of hardworking Rhode Islanders shrink. Meanwhile, across the country, advanced industries are adding jobs, and wages are going up, too," Raimondo added. "If we want Rhode Islanders to have a shot, then we have to build a new Rhode Island economy based on advanced industries. To do that, we need skills that matter and jobs that pay - and these must go hand-in-hand."
The Governor's proposed budget closes an estimated shortfall of $49.5 million, down from the FY 2016 deficit of $190.4 million. A combination of last year's reforms to control cost and grow stronger revenues have improved the state's fiscal situation.
"Our economy is making progress, but there is much more work to do to create growth that includes everyone," Raimondo said. "If we remain committed to growing 21st century businesses and attracting high-wage, high-skill jobs, I am confident that we will achieve our shared goal of creating jobs and expanding opportunity for all Rhode Islanders."
Highlights of the Jobs Plan:
Skills That Matter
• Strengthens neighborhood schools by investing record resources to support students and teachers
• Reforms the school funding formula to bolster all public schools
• Funds free PSATs and SATs for public high school students
• Expands P-TECH so more students can earn associate degrees in competitive fields
• Makes college more affordable by freezing college tuition with record investments at URI, RIC and CCRI and continuing need-based Rhode Island's Promise scholarships
• Invests in workforce development initiatives, like Real Jobs RI and TechHire, to train Rhode Islanders for well-paying 21st century jobs
Jobs That Pay
• Fosters innovation in our economy by leveraging higher education to create 21st century jobs
• Expands R&D tax credit by $5 million
• Stops the brain drain by expanding Wavemaker Fellowship student loan repayments and offering down payment assistance on homes for recent graduates through the Ocean State Grad Grant
• Expands the Innovation Voucher program to partner businesses with academic researchers
• Streamlines rail travel between Boston and Rhode Island with the Rhody Pass
• Advances the I-195 Redevelopment Commission's plan to develop an innovation and design district in Providence
• Cuts unemployment insurance taxes and maintains the reduction in the corporate minimum tax and the elimination of the commercial sales tax on energy to make it easier and cheaper to do business in RI
• Expands e-permitting and reduce regulatory burdens to make it easier for companies to operate
• Combats waste and fraud in the temporary disability insurance (TDI) program
• Utilizes economic development tools to attract new businesses and help existing ones grow
Opportunities For All
• Continues to increase the EITC to 15 percent, benefitting more than 85,000 taxpayers, so working families can keep more of what they earn
• Makes work pay by raising the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour
• Fights the overdose epidemic by investing in treatment, recovery centers and training
• Increases funding to support senior services like Meals on Wheels and ensure that every community has a senior center
Highlights of the FY 2017 Budget
• Record investments in our educational system and workforce
• Closes an estimated shortfall of $49.5 million, down from the FY 2016 deficit of $190.4 million
• Introduces no broad-based tax increases, building on last year's budget proposal
• Focuses on growing advanced industries
• Provides incentives, tax cuts and regulatory improvements to make it easier to do business in RI
• Protects the health and safety of our residents
• Modernizes government practices and provides tools to combat fraud, waste and abuse
• Makes fiscally responsible, tough decisions to fix the fundamentals of government
• Continues to provide predictability for businesses through pension and progressive Medicaid reform
Please see below for links to fact sheets.