Rhode Island budget plan heading for vote - ABC6 - Providence, RI and New Bedford, MA News, Weather

Rhode Island budget plan heading for vote

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By: Samantha Fenlon

Email: sfenlon@abc6.com

Twitter: SFenlonABC6

PROVIDNECE, R.I. (WLNE) — Speaker Nicholas Mattiello made his way to the House floor on one of the busiest days of the year; preparing for hours before sending a final version of the budget to the House Finance Committee.

"We are squeezing a lot of work into a couple of days and no matter how ready you are going into the budget says there's always requests there's always changes," said Speaker Mattiello.

The Speaker admitted this is a very tough year, noting the State grappling a $130 million dollar budget deficit.

Mattiello said there will be no broad based tax increases, though he said the cigarette tax increase of 50 cents per pack did make it in.

"Even though it's not what you would hope you would hope for more revenue to balance with, but we balanced it in an intelligent and appropriate way."

This legislative session has had a lot of press on two issues.

The first is the Governor's proposal to provide two free years of State college tuition for Rhode Islanders.

When asked if that plan made it into the budget the Speaker answered: "we’ll see.”

The second is the Speaker’s proposal to do away with the car tax over the next six years.

This proposal comes with a price tag of $26 million this year. He said that it is included in the budget.

ABC6 News caught up with the Governor yesterday where she emphasized the point that this is a difficult budget.

However, Governor Raimondo said she remains optimistic her college plan will make the cut.

"I don't think anything’s been settled. We are in constant conversations and I've been clear that this is a priority. You need a degree past high school to get a good job and most people can't afford that opportunity and I'm not backing away from it," said Governor Gina Raimondo.

ABC6 News reporter Samantha Fenlon is live at the Statehouse. Follow her on Twitter for the latest updates!

This story will be updated as soon as new information becomes available.

©WLNE-TV / ABC6 2017

©WLNE-TV / ABC6 2017

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