State Deficit Yawns Wider

Here’s the latest bad fiscal news from The Providence Journal:

Having barely recovered from the last budget battle, state leaders on Tuesday learned that Rhode Island’s battered economy is largely responsible for creating another gaping budget hole.

This one, conservatively projected at $200 million for the fiscal year that began July 1, was agreed upon by the state’s top budget officials in what has become a painful annual exercise known as the November Revenue Estimating Conference.

“It’s extremely bleak,” said House Finance Committee chairman Steven M. Costantino, considered the legislature’s budget architect. “Let’s hope at some point this stabilizes.”

The projection comes just four months after the General Assembly adopted a slew of budget changes –– trimming pension benefits for thousands of state workers and teachers, wiping out revenue-sharing for cities and towns, and raising the gas tax, among them –– intended to balance this year’s budget, as required by law.

For a state-by-state comparison of budget deficits, click here. Note, however, that the information on Rhode Island does not take into account this latest estimate.

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