General Treasurer Seth Magaziner celebrated the passage of several major pieces of legislation requested by his office that will strengthen the state's economy and help Rhode Islanders become more financially secure.
"As General Treasurer, my top priority is to promote economic growth and financial stability for all Rhode Islanders," said General Treasurer Seth Magaziner. "Each of these legislative initiatives will help build a better and brighter future for our state as we rebuild our economy and improve our quality of life. I want to thank each of the bill sponsors and the countless community partners we worked with to make these legislative victories possible."
Bills requested by the General Treasurer's Office that achieved passage in the final weeks of the legislative session included:
H5491 / S349 to provide access to personal finance education for all Rhode Island high school students. This bill has been a priority of the Treasurer, a former public-school teacher, for the past three years because research shows that financial education leads to better financial outcomes for students later in life. The bill was sponsored by Senate Education Committee Chair Sandra Cano (D-Pawtucket) and House Deputy Whip Mia Ackerman (D-Cumberland).
H6408 Sub A / S951 Sub A to amend the school construction funding process to allow construction of a new Central Falls High School, subject to voter approval. In 2017 the state School Construction Task Force led by Treasurer Magaziner developed a once-in-a generation plan to repair and replace Rhode Island's crumbling school buildings. To date, this program has allocated $1.3 billion to repair or replace 163 school buildings across the state, creating 20,000 jobs. This new legislation, a partnership between Treasurer Magaziner and Central Falls Mayor Maria Rivera, will allow Central Falls to more easily access the state school construction program for the purpose of building a new state of the art high school, pending voter approval. The bills were sponsored by Senator Jonathon Acosta (D-Central Falls) and Representative Joshua Giraldo (D-Central Falls).
H6423 Sub A / S953 Sub A will strengthen the long-struggling West Warwick pension plan by creating a pathway for the plan to join the state retirement system, where it will benefit from more professional management, stronger funding discipline, a more sustainable benefit structure, and the state system's strong investment performance- which this year, under Treasurer Magaziner's administration, has reached all-time highs. This legislation is the product of successful negotiations between Treasurer Magaziner, the Town of West Warwick and its union and retiree organizations and is similar to legislation for the Central Falls pension plan successfully championed by Treasurer Magaziner in 2019. It was sponsored by Senator John Burke (D-West Warwick) and Representative Thomas Noret (D-West Warwick)
H6144 Sub A/ S634 Sub B will provide a sustainable funding source for the Green Infrastructure financing programs started by Treasurer Magaziner at the Rhode Island Infrastructure Bank. In 2015, Treasurer Magaziner authored legislation to create the Efficient Buildings Fund to fund energy retrofits of municipal buildings and the C-PACE program to provide low-cost energy efficiency loans to small businesses, administered by the Rhode Island Infrastructure Bank. These programs have since invested $145 million across the state in alternative energy and energy efficiency projects, supporting 2,000 jobs, helping small businesses, municipalities, non-profits and taxpayers save money on their energy bills and reduce their reliance on fossil fuels. The new legislation creates a sustainable funding source for these programs, to ensure they continue to create jobs and make Rhode Island greener well into the future.
The House and Senate revised the recommended budget to include the Treasurer's request for adequate funding of the Crime Victim Compensation Fund, which assists victims of violent crimes and their families with financial assistance on the road to recovery. This program has provided relief for thousands of Rhode Islanders in meeting medical costs, relocation expenses, loss of earnings and other expenses under Treasurer Magaziner's administration. In 2016 the Treasurer passed legislation to expand the Fund's ability to assist Rhode Islanders who are victims of domestic violence or terror attacks.