Legislative Testimony

Throughout the legislative session, the Economic Progress Institute tracks the budget and other bills being considered by the Rhode Island General Assembly affecting the economic well-being of low- and modest-income Rhode Islanders. We present policy information and data-based testimony to committees in the General Assembly.

2019 Legislative Testimony

Testimony on House Bill 5196 (Court Fines)
The Institute supports Representative Blazejewski’s House bill 5196, which would standardize and restructure the assesment of a person’s ability to pay court fines, and require that qualification for Public Defender representation constitutes evidence of inability to pay.

House and Senate Testimonies on Governor’s Proposed FY2020 Budget – Article 13 (Minimum Wage)
The Institute supports increasing Rhode Island’s minimum wage to $11.10 in 2020, as called for in Budget Article 13. Putting more money in the pockets of Rhode Island workers not only helps those families, it also supports local businesses and supports the Rhode Island economy.

House Testimony on House Bills H5097, H5269, H5338, H5658, H5660 (Minimum Wage)
The Institute supports increasing Rhode Island’s minimum wage. We believe Rhode Island should implement a $15 minimum wage as quickly as possible. Progress toward $15 for either a specific population or locality, as some of these bills propose, is important progress forward, but our goal must be a statewide $15 minimum wage, so working Rhode Islanders across the entire state can benefit.

Testimonies on H5033/S112  (Financial Literacy)
The Institute supports H5033 – An Act Relating to Education – Financial Literacy. We believe this bill, which would ensure that Rhode Island students receive financial literacy education, will help achieve that goal by ensuring that students and their families:

  • better understand financial savings institutions, including the benefits of savings accounts and the pitfalls to high cost pay day loans;
  • are better educated loan borrowers to help reduce the likelihood of unnecessary longstanding student loan debt and;
  • are more likely to be able to become or remain homeowners.

House and Senate Testimonies on Governor’s Proposed FY2020 Budget – Article 15, Sec. 5 (RI Works)
The Institute strongly supports the Governor’s budget proposal to repeal the 24 month time limit in the RI Works program. Repealing the 24 month time limit would:

  • Improve the RI Works work-readiness program so parents are more likely to obtain and maintain long-term employment;
  • Streamline program operation;
  • Have no or minimal cost

House Testimony on Governor’s Proposed FY2020 Budget – Article 9 (Car Tax)
The Institute submitted an educational testimony on the car tax asking lawmakers to think critically about the car tax and review whether phase out of the car tax is good public policy.

Senate Testimony on Governor’s Proposed FY2020 Budget – Article 14 (Individual Mandate)
The Institute submitted testimony in support of Article 14 with changes, requesting amending the proposed structure of the shared responsibility payment penalty to protect lower income Rhode Islanders by exempting taxpayers with income below 150% of the federal poverty level (FPL) and setting the penalty as a percentage of income. Under the current proposal lowe income taxpayers would paya higher share of their income in penalties.

House Testimony on H5137 (Source of Income Housing Discrimination)
The Institute submitted testimony in support of H-5137, which would prohibit discrimination in housing based on a person’s receipt of a lawful source of income. Rhode Island has a severe shortage of affordable and safe housing. Many working families are unable to find and afford a decent apartment in which to raise their children.

House Testimony on Governor’s Proposed FY2020 Budget – Article 11 (College Promise)
The Institute submitted testimony in support of budget article 11 but do not support the provision that the program would only be available to adults only once they turn 25.  Setting the eligibility age for adults at 25, leaves a big gap – young adults between the ages of 19 and 24 would not be eligible for RI Promise. Yet this is precisely the group of young adults we should be encouraging to continue their education because they are likely to be already motivated to do so.

Past Testimony

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