via RI GOP
Governor Gina Raimondo has expressed disappointment about the $2.8 million in tuition increases at URI and RIC. However, these tuition increases occurred because Raimondo rejected, in part, URI and RIC’s requests for additional funds and instead included $6.35 million in the budget for her free CCRI program. She also decided to pay for dozens of public relations employees in state government. According to the Providence Journal, as of September 2017, the cost of these PR staffers was approximately $5.4 million.
Rhode Island Republican Party Chairman Brandon S. Bell commented: “Raimondo’s decision to fund her free CCRI program while partly denying URI and RIC’s requests for more funds triggered the tuition increases at URI and RIC. We are now in situation where students are going to CCRI for free while other students at URI and RIC are going to pay more. This is not fair. Raimondo will not support transferring over the taxpayer funds used to pay for her free CCRI program over to URI and RIC to avoid tuition increases. Therefore, we call upon Raimondo to slash the PR staff funded in the budget by $2.8 million and use those savings to fund URI and RIC in order to avoid these tuition increases. PR funding has been gone up dramatically under Raimondo, but state funding for URI is still below what it was 10 years ago. If Raimondo refuses to cut her taxpayer funded PR staff, then the students at URI and RIC and their parents will know that Raimondo cares more about her image than their education.”
Bell concluded: “If Raimondo refuses to find the money to avoid these tuition increases at URI and RIC, then House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello needs to find the money in the budget to do so. If the Speaker can’t find $2.8 million to avoid these tuition increases, but still includes $2.2 million in legislative grants in the budget, voters will know that his own re-election is a greater priority to him than avoiding tuition increases at URI and RIC.”