FY2022 Budget & 2021 General Assembly Session in Review

INTRODUCTION

Rhode Island’s Fiscal Year 2022 Budget—authorizing $13.1 billion in total expenditures, including $4.55 billion in state General Revenue—along with other legislation passed and enacted during the 2021 General Assembly session, makes some substantial investments in Rhode Island and Rhode Islanders, while leaving on the table some important proposals. Our review of the budget and legislative session highlights progress and shortcomings in light of the Economic Progress Institute’s legislative priorities and those issues of particular relevance to low- and moderate-income Rhode Islanders.

The American Relief Plan Act (ARPA) provided significant federal funds to the states and municipalities. The 2022 budget includes close to $1.5 billion in ARPA funds that are either sent directly to Rhode Island state agencies or localities or flow through the state for targeted purposes. There is $1.2 billion that the state has received that has not yet been appropriated. It is likely that the General Assembly will hold a special Fall 2021 session to allocate substantial amounts of these funds for the FY 2022 budget and possibly to consider additional legislation, including the legalization of cannabis for adult recreational use.

The following three icons highlight some of the many issues addressed in the budget and legislative session. Absence of an icon generally indicates that work needs to be done on the issue or that the item simply provides information.

One of the legislative priorities identified by EPI prior to this year’s session.
Significant progress.
Mixed bag—some, yet inadequate, progress.
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