The Rhode Island budget impasse has come to an end and Governor Raimondo has signed the FY 2018 Budget into law.
The budget includes a 50-cent per pack increase in the cigarette tax. The American Heart Association and our partners opposed the tax increase because it is too low to have a public health impact and the revenue is not invested in prevention & cessation programs. Below is a more detailed budget update from our contract lobbyists at The Mayforth Group:
The Rhode Island State Senate Democratic caucus met Monday, July 31st, to discuss a compromise to the budget standoff that has delayed its implementation for over a month. At the conclusion of the meeting, the attending Senators agreed it is in the best interest of the citizens of Rhode Island to end the delay and reconvene to take up the original budget sent by he House to the Senate on June 29th. The Senate met on Thursday August 3rd to take up and vote on the FY18 budget without the controversial amendment that started the feud.
After the the Senate caucus, Senate President Ruggerio and House Speaker Mattiello announced they had reached a resolution with concessions being made on both sides. The Senate will pass the original budget bill (as passed by the House in June) and the House will pass a separate legislative bill to address the concerns the Senate had on the car tax phaseout. The bill will require the director of the Department of Revenue to study the affordability of the car tax phaseout each fiscal year.
In order to manage unfinished legislative business, both chambers have also agreed to return to the State House on September 19th. During this fall session the two legislative bodies will consider bills that were left on the legislative calendar when the House unexpectedly recessed. Some of the key bills that will be considered include, but are not limited to, paid sick day and gun rights restrictions for domestic abusers. After the budget is passed, the House and Senate leadership plan to meet and discuss a list of bills that will be placed on the calendar for the Sept. 19th session.