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Gov. Gina Raimondo promised robust programs to improve transportation, education, housing, the environment, increasing the minimum wage, while offering tax cuts and no solution to the state’s $200 million deficit, in her State of the State Address to both houses of the General Assembly tonight.
The address, a vision of what could be, will now undergo vigorous review by the General Assembly. The fate of many of the programs will be tied to what is likely a tight budget, which she will submit to the General Assembly on Thursday.
And it comes with a backdrop of what Len Lardaro, an economist at the University of Rhode Island says is a slowing economy in Rhode Island and nationally, and a 50-50 chance the state falls into recession by year’s end.
With legislators, other general officers, the judiciary, and her family looking on, Raimondo’s proposals were often met with vigorous applause. She touted success in job training, road construction, a school building bond.
She proposed three possible bond issues: building additional pre-Kindergarten classroom space; affordable housing (a dedicated funding stream); and developing industrial sites throughout the state.
Among the highlights, Raimondo said:
- She will propose a package of gun control bills.
- She is committed to moving Rhode Island closer to being powered 100 percent by renewable energy.
- Investment in our beaches.
- Increasing the minimum wage.
- Banning flavored e-cigarettes.
- Near the end of the speech she called again for passage of Line-Item Veto, a proposal that has surfaced for several years. Line-Item Veto would give the governor the option of vetoing individual line items in an Assembly approved budget, rather than having to either accept or veto the entire budget as a whole.
Among the issues she did not addressed was the legalization of marijuana, which legislative leaders have already said they would oppose.