Cannabis Legalization in RI: A Racist History Demands Equitable Reform

Three proposals to legalize cannabis for adult recreational use in Rhode Island were presented during the 2021 legislative session: Senate Bill 568, House Bill 6370, and Article 11 of Governor McKee’s proposed FY2022 budget. The proposals are estimated to yield around $17M annually. Rhode Island legalized cannabis for medical use in 2006 and decriminalized possession of small amounts of cannabis …

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 …

Initial response to 2022 Budget passed by the House Finance Committee

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 …

On Tax Day, ITEP and EPI Analyses Highlight Negative Effects of National and State Tax Policies on Income for People of Color

Rhode Island can address historic inequities by raising taxes on top 1 percent. Today, Tax Day 2021, is a good time to reflect on the inequitable distribution of wealth and income caused by decades of policies that disadvantaged people of color. A new report, “Taxes and Racial Equity: An Overview of State and Local Policy Impacts,” published by the Institute …

Highlights of Governor’s Proposed FY2022 Budget

Last month, Governor McKee released his FY2022 proposed budget. The “budget” totals $11.17 billion, a decrease of $1.56 billion over the enacted FY2021 budget. The Institute analyzed the budget, taking a look at proposals that are important to the fiscal health of the state and its residents. Here are some key points from the perspective of what will impact the …

Highlights of the 2020 General Assembly Session: 2021 Enacted Budget and Legislation

The $12.7 billion Fiscal Year 2021 budget was finally passed by the Rhode Island General Assembly and signed into law by Governor Gina Raimondo in December 2020. This budget was described as a “skinny” budget, meaning that no new measures were included vis-à-vis the FY2020 budget. That is, almost nothing proposed in January 2020 by Governor Raimondo in her recommended …

Rhode Islanders Don’t Move Because of Tax Policy

In order to grow thriving families and communities and a prosperous economy, Rhode Island depends upon tax revenues to provide for critical public goods and services. Rhode Island’s personal income tax system is moderately progressive, meaning that individuals and families with the lowest incomes pay a lower percentage than those with higher incomes. Those with the highest incomes can afford …

COVID-19: Protecting Rhode Islanders and the State’s Economy

The COVID-19 pandemic is both a public health crisis and an economic crisis. When put together these become a moral crisis. Many people have been asked to make temporary economic sacrifices in order to protect public health and save lives. When we ask people to make such sacrifices, we, as a state, have a moral obligation to help them. And …

Are Economic Development Tax Incentives Reports Facilitating Transparency and Accountability?

Like most states, Rhode Island offers numerous tax incentives seeking to generate economic activity and create jobs. These Economic Development Incentives aim to leverage state revenues to encourage new business startups, facilitate the expansion of existing businesses, and attract new businesses to the state. The incentives take many forms, including those of tax credits, tax exemptions, tax deductions, and preferential …

Highlights of the Governor’s Proposed FY2021 Budget

The Governor’s proposed FY2021 budget (“the budget”) totals $10.2 billion, an increase of $224M over the enacted FY2020 budget. This includes $4.2 billion in general revenue ($170M more than 2020) and $3.3 billion in federal funds ($2.2M less than 2020), with the balance from restricted receipts ($349M, $38M more than 2020) and other sources such as lottery revenue ($2.3 billion, …