Governor McKee Signs FY25 Budget, Emphasizes Education, Housing, and Economic Growth

Governor Dan McKee signed the FY25 Rhode Island budget in a ceremony Monday at the Rhode Island State House. The budget earmarks significant investments for K-12 education, housing, small businesses, infrastructure, and retirees. Joining him at the signing were Speaker K. Joseph Shekarchi, House Finance Committee Chairman Marvin L. Abney, and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Louis DiPalma.

Governor McKee praised the collaborative effort behind the budget, stating, “We came together as a team and delivered a budget that continues to put Rhode Island on a path to improve educational outcomes, raise incomes for all Rhode Islanders, and build a healthier state. I am proud to sign a budget that makes smart investments in Rhode Island’s future and I thank the Speaker and Senate President for their collaboration.”

Key Elements of the FY25 Budget:

Investing in Housing, Creating Pathways to Homeownership:

  • Largest Housing Bond in State History: The budget proposes a $120 million housing bond aimed at making housing more affordable and accessible. It includes $80 million for affordable housing, $20 million for homeownership programs, and $10 million for acquisition and revitalization, among other initiatives.
  • Homelessness Assistance: An additional $17.3 million is allocated for housing navigation, stabilization, and mental health services for the homeless, bringing total support to $38.8 million.
  • Housing Production and Stabilization Fund: Expanded uses and an additional $10 million in general revenue for housing stabilization and homelessness prevention.

Building a Healthier Rhode Island:

  • Medicaid Provider Rates: The budget invests $163.9 million to fully fund recommended rates for Medicaid providers.
  • Behavioral Health Services: $79.7 million is allocated to establish new Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics (CCBHCs).
  • Nursing Home Support: An additional $10 million in State Fiscal Recovery Funds to support nursing homes until new rates take effect in October 2024.
  • Summer Food Program for Students: $400,000 is invested in a permanent Summer Electronic Benefit Transfer program, providing $40 per month, per eligible child.
  • Discouraging Smoking and Vaping: An additional $350,000 for a vaping abatement initiative and increased taxes on cigarettes and electronic nicotine delivery systems.

Strengthening Education from Pre-K to Higher Ed:

  • K-12 Funding: An increase of $70.9 million in state aid, with additional support for multi-language learners and a $5 million coaching initiative for reading and math.
  • Learn365RI Grants: $5 million for high-quality, out-of-school time programming.
  • Pre-K Expansion: An increase in funding to bring 35 new pre-K classrooms online.
  • Free School Meals: $800,000 to provide free breakfast and lunch to approximately 6,500 students.
  • Higher Education Infrastructure: A $160.5 million bond for facilities at the University of Rhode Island and Rhode Island College.
  • Hope Scholarship Pilot Extension: Two additional years for the last-dollar scholarship program.
  • Support for Foster Care Youth: A new scholarship program for foster care youth to attend Rhode Island College.

Investing in the Economy and Supporting Local Businesses:

  • Business Assistance: $2.6 million in State Fiscal Recovery Funds for businesses impacted by the Washington Bridge closure.
  • Arts Infrastructure: A $10 million cultural economy bond for arts and cultural projects.
  • Tourism Promotion: $2.6 million to market Rhode Island as a travel destination.
  • Wavemaker Fellowship Program: $4.1 million for student loan repayment tax credits.
  • Nuisance Fee Elimination: Removal of various fees to ease the burden on residents and businesses.

Investing in our Environment:

  • Green Economy Bond: A $53 million bond for municipal resiliency, climate projects, and offshore wind infrastructure.
  • E-Bike Rebates: $250,000 for electric bike rebates.
  • Local Agriculture and Seafood Grants: $500,000 to continue stimulating growth in local food and seafood sectors.

Fixing Roads and Bridges, Investing in Transportation:

  • Washington Bridge Reconstruction: $83.6 million allocated for the reconstruction project.
  • Municipal Road Program: An additional $7 million for local road improvements.
  • Public Transit Support: $15 million to help the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority address an operating deficit.

Supporting Retirees:

  • Retirement Income Exemption: Increased exemption for taxable retirement income to $50,000 for single filers and $100,000 for joint filers.
  • State Retiree COLAs: Repeal of the suspension of full cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) for state employees who retired before 2012 and a lower threshold for reinstating COLAs for those who retired after.

Speaker Shekarchi highlighted the collaborative effort behind the budget, emphasizing its focus on education and housing. Senate President Ruggerio praised the responsible and forward-thinking nature of the budget, while House Finance Committee Chairman Abney and Senate Finance Committee Chairman DiPalma lauded the careful planning and tough choices made to support Rhode Island’s residents.




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