Gov. Raimondo Says Government Won't Shut Down Amid Budget Impasse

Jul 6, 2017

State government will not shut down, even as Rhode Island moves into a new fiscal year without a new budget. Lawmakers in Rhode Island’s House and Senate failed to pass a budget before abruptly ending the General Assembly session last week.

Gov. Gina Raimondo said state departments will continue to operate following last year’s fiscal budget. Raimondo said the plan will work in the short term, but the state will soon owe money it hasn’t yet allocated for a variety of promised payouts.

“July 31st, August 1st, there will be payments to cities and towns, there will be payments to cities and towns for schools aid and for aid to cities and towns, and that will be one of the first times that people will notice a big difference,” Raimondo said.

Raimondo said the longer the gridlock lasts, the harder it will be to maintain departments.

“Which is why I am urging, and have urged, House and Senate leadership, to put the differences aside get back to the table and pass a balanced budget as quickly as possible,” Raimondo said.

House and Senate leaders are in disagreement over the proposal to phase out the state’s car tax.

The budget and a variety of other bills remain in limbo until the General Assembly reconvenes. Those include a proposal for paid sick leave for private sector employees and legislation that would limit access to firearms for people convicted of domestic assault.

Raimondo says her signature proposal, free college tuition at Community College of Rhode Island will continue as planned. The original plan for free tuition across public institutions was reduced to include only CCRI. Raimondo said the new proposal will only cost about $2 million dollars, and said the state would find the money.

Raimondo said in extraordinary circumstances, she could compel the General Assembly to reconvene, but it is too early to take such action.