GOP: RI needs more transparency in budget process

Politics

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Rhode Island Republican Party leaders on Wednesday demanded a more transparent budget process next year.

In a news conference at the State House, Rhode Island GOP Chairwoman Sue Cienki said the state’s nearly $10 billion proposed budget passed by the House is too large. She and Ken Block, a businessman and two-time gubernatorial candidate, cited funding earmarked for Cranston chiropractor Victor Pedro as an example of hidden expenses in the budget.

House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello defended the funding but ultimately removed it amid public outrage.

“Unfortunately, countless people probably won’t get the help they would have gotten because of politics,” Mattiello said.

The Republican leaders cited the episode as a reason for more transparency.

“Everyone should be allowed to know how their money is spent,” Cienki said.

“This one issue, where the state was going to hand a single individual a million dollars in our budget for a non-federally approved medical procedure that the feds won’t pay for but we were going to, is horrific,” Block added.

Cienki and Block said they plan to renew the push to give the governor a line-item veto during the next legislative session. That power would allow a governor to remove specific budget items without rejecting the entire tax-and-spending plan.

Gov. Gina Raimondo is in support of the measure but Mattiello has said he is not.

The Republicans said they will go on a public campaign to educate voters on why they believe a line-item veto for the governor is necessary.

“Over and over and over again,” Cienki said about how much she will recite her message. “Inform before we reform.”

Line-item vetos are allowed in the vast majority of states, including Massachusetts.

The proposed 2019-20 budget was approved by the House in a vote last Saturday and is expected to be taken up by the Senate Finance Committee Thursday afternoon.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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