As we read through the budget details from the budget that the House Finance Committee passed last night, here are four key takeaways:
Important investments in children and families and the child care workforce:
- RI Works: The monthly benefit for families receiving RI Works, which hasn’t been adjusted in 30 years, is increased by 30%. The benefit for a family of 3 will rise from $554/month to $721/month. The yearly $100 clothing allowance will be extended to include infants and toddlers and earnings from work will be excluded for 6 months when a parent starts a job.
- Child Care Assistance: The rates paid to providers through the Child Care Assistance Program will remain at current emergency levels through the end of this year. The permanent rates that will go into effect in January will be higher than paid pre-COVID. Parents’ co-payments will be capped at 7 percent of income, down from a maximum of 14 percent.
Revenue for short-term preserved; forfeited for long-term
- The budget retains $47.8M in revenue that would have been lost had the state not partially decoupled from the federal tax rules for the Paycheck Protection Program funds. The loan amount exemption was raised from $150,000 to $250,000 so that only 2,000 businesses will be affected.
- The budget fails to access the $128M in additional revenue that would be generated from a tax on a portion of the income of the top 1% of earners. In addition to promoting equity, if passed this would have provided resources that the state will need in future years.