PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The state of Rhode Island has been without a budget for nearly three weeks now, but it appears that could soon change.
After not speaking for days, House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello and Senate President Dominick Ruggerio held a private meeting Tuesday night as they try to reach a resolution.
Mattiello called it a “productive meeting,” telling Eyewitness News on Wednesday he hopes the Senate will reconvene and approve the House version of the budget.
The standoff began on June 30 after Mattiello abruptly sent House lawmakers home for their summer recess to protest an amendment Ruggerio wanted to add to the budget regarding the speaker’s car tax phaseout.
Mattiello said he and Ruggerio went over the proposed changes Tuesday night.
“We discussed those concerns, and I hope I alleviated those concerns and satisfied him that we should proceed forward as originally expected,” Mattiello said. “I think that’s what we’re going to be doing.”
When asked if there’s a chance he’ll bring House lawmakers back to Smith Hill, Mattiello simply replied, “no, I am not planning on doing that.”
Ruggerio declined our requests for interviews after Tuesday’s meeting, but told the Providence Journal he would be open to reconvening the Senate next week.
Mattiello said he plans to meet with Ruggerio again on Thursday. He also said that once the budget is signed, he’ll bring back the House this fall to finish up the bills that were caught up in the standoff.