On the whole Governor Chafee’s speech was disappointing.
The first big budget item: no increases in taxes or fees. So much for tax equity. In fact the corporate tax rate is to go down from 9% to 7%.
There are more millions for many worthy projects/areas: K-12 education, higher education, infrastructure, property tax relief, and workforce development are some. No new sources of funding for the above were mentioned. So how do we pay for all of this? This was not specifically addressed by the Governor.
There was no mention of increased funding for social programs, in fact it sounded like the usual ‘hard decisions’ will be made on the backs of the disadvantaged via decreased funding. Such cuts may be one of the sources of the increased spending elsewhere in the budget.
Governor Chafee also said how well the state government works now. With all due respect, what about the poor service to the unemployed after all of the DLT staffing cuts?
There was some good news on social issues: continued strong support for marriage equality, gun control proposed, and more support for veterans. However, there was no mention of women’s health issues, nor tax equity (see above).
On the whole the speech came across as somewhat feel-good-with-no-pain, that is, kind of unrealistic. Hopefully my concerns will not be realized.