Rhode Island state budget
Energy policy • Public education • School choice • Public pensions • State budget • Ballot measures
|Rhode Island state budget|
|State Credit Rating:||AA (as of May 2012)|
|Current Governor:||Lincoln Chafee|
|GF expenses:||$3.268 billion (estimated for FY 2013)|
|All funds expenses:||$8.133 (estimated for FY 2013)|
|Spending % Change:||2.86%|
|% from Federal Funding:||33.96%|
|Per Capita State Debt:||$17,960|
|Other state budgets|
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- 1 Budget process
- 2 Expenditures
- 3 Revenues
- 4 State budgets by year
- 5 Historical spending
- 6 State debt
- 7 Federal aid to state budget
- 8 Budget transparency
- 9 Accounting principles
- 10 Contact information
- 11 See also
- 12 External links
- 13 References
- A summary of the budget drafting process
- Trends in expenditures and revenues
- Current and past fiscal year budget developments
- Financial transparency measures
Between fiscal year 2009 and fiscal year 2013, Rhode Island's total expenditures increased by approximately $0.779 billion, from $7.354 billion in 2009 to $8.133 billion in 2013. This represents a 10.59 percent increase, outpacing the cumulative rate of inflation during the same period (9.06 percent, calculated using the Consumer Price Indices for January 2009 and January 2013).
- Budget instruction guidelines are sent to state agencies in July of the year preceding the start of the new fiscal year.
- Agencies submit their budget requests to the governor in September and October.
- Agency hearings are held in November and December. Public hearings are held in March and April.
- The governor submits his or her proposed budget to the state legislature in January.
- The legislature typically adopts a budget in June. The fiscal year begins July 1.
In Rhode Island, the governor has no veto authority over the budget.
The governor is legally required to submit a balanced budget proposal. Likewise, the legislature is legally required to pass a balanced budget.
Although each state executes its budget process differently, the National Association of State Budget Officers (NASBO) breaks down state expenditures into four general categories. This allows for comparisons among the 50 states. NASBO's categories are as follows:
- General fund: "The predominant fund for financing a state’s operations. Revenues are received from broad-based state taxes. However, there are differences in how specific functions are financed from state to state."
- Other funds: "Expenditures from revenue sources that are restricted by law for particular governmental functions or activities. For example, a gasoline tax dedicated to a highway trust fund would appear in the “Other funds” column. For Medicaid, other state funds include provider taxes, fees, donations, assessments, and local funds."
- Federal funds: "Funds received directly from the federal government."
- Bonds: "Expenditures from the sale of bonds, generally for capital projects."
The table below breaks down expenditures for fiscal year 2013 (comparable figures from surrounding states are provided to give additional context). Figures for all columns except "Per capita expenditures" are rendered in millions of dollars (for example, $2,448 translates to $2,448,000,000). Figures in the column labeled "Per capita expenditures" have not been abbreviated.
|Total state expenditures, FY 2013 ($ in millions)|
|State||General fund||Federal funds||Other funds||Bonds||Total||Per capita expenditures|
| Per capita figures are calculated by taking the state's total expenditures and dividing by the number of state residents according to United States Census estimates.|
Source: National Association of State Budget Officers
Expenditures by function
State expenditures in Rhode Island can be further broken down by function (elementary and secondary education, public assistance, etc.). Fiscal year 2012 data is included in the table below (information from neighboring states is provided for additional context). Figures are rendered as percents, indicating the share of the total budget spent per category.
|Expenditures by function, FY 2012 (as percents)|
|State||Elementary and secondary ed.||Higher ed.||Public assistance||Medicaid||Corrections||Transportation||Other|
|Source: National Association of State Budget Officers|
From 2008 to 2012, the share of the total budget spent on elementary and secondary education fell by 1.30 percentage points, or 8.4 percent. During the same period, transportation expenditures rose by 1.80 percentage points, or 38.3 percent, as a share of the budget. The table below details changes in expenditures from 2008 to 2012. Figures are rendered as percents, indicating the share of the total budget spent per category.
|Expenditures from 2008 to 2012 (as percents)|
|Year||Elementary and secondary ed.||Higher ed.||Public assistance||Medicaid||Corrections||Transportation||Other|
|Change in %||-1.30%||1.40%||-0.60%||-0.90%||-0.40%||1.80%||0.10%|
|Source: National Association of State Budget Officers|
The table below breaks down general fund revenues by source in fiscal year 2013 (comparable figures from surrounding states are also provided to give additional context). Figures for all columns except "Per capita revenue" are rendered in millions of dollars (for example, $2,448 translates to $2,448,000,000). Figures in the column labeled "Per capita revenue" have not been abbreviated.
|Revenue sources in the general fund, FY 2013 ($ in millions)|
|State||Sales tax||Personal income tax||Corporate income tax||Gaming tax||Other taxes and fees||Total||Per capita revenue**|
| Per capita figures are calculated by taking the state's total revenues and dividing by the number of state residents according to United States Census estimates for 2013.|
Source: National Association of State Budget Officers
The table below details the change in revenue sources in the general fund from 2009 to 2013. Figures for all columns except "Per capita revenue" are rendered in millions of dollars (for example, $2,448 translates to $2,448,000,000). Figures in the column labeled "Per capita revenue" have not been abbreviated.
|Revenue sources in the general fund, Rhode Island ($ in millions)|
|Year||Sales tax||Personal income tax||Corporate income tax||Gaming tax||Other taxes and fees||Total||Per capita revenue**|
|Change in %||8.04%||14.24%||31.73%||-50.00%||5.81%||9.88%||10.06%|
| Per capita figures are calculated by taking the state's total revenues and dividing by the number of state residents according to United States Census estimates.|
Source: National Association of State Budget Officers
State budgets by year
See budget bill: H 5127
Fiscal year 2014
|Rhode Island state budget -- 2014|
|Rhode Island State Legislature|
|Introduced:||January 22, 2013|
|State House:||June 26, 2013|
|State Senate:||June 27, 2013|
|Signed:||July 3, 2013|
Fiscal year 2013
- See also: Rhode Island state budget (2012-2013)
Fiscal year 2012
- See also: Rhode Island state budget (2011-2012)
Fiscal year 2011
- See also: Rhode Island state budget (2010-2011)
Fiscal year 2010
- See also: Rhode Island state budget (2009-2010)
State budget historical spending below was compiled by the National Association of State Budget Officers. Figures reflect the reported "Total Expenditures" in Table 1. Figures for all columns are rendered in millions of dollars (for example, $2,448 translates to $2,448,000,000).
|Historical state budget spending in Rhode Island ($ in millions)|
|Fiscal year||General Fund||Other funds||Federal funds||Bonds||Budget totals|
|Total||% of Budget||Total||% of Budget||Total||% of Budget||Total||% of Budget|
|General Fund: The predominant fund for financing a state’s operations. Revenues are received from broad-based state taxes. However, there are differences in how specific functions are financed from state to state.|
Other funds: Expenditures from revenue sources that are restricted by law for particular governmental functions or activities. For example, a gasoline tax dedicated to a highway trust fund would appear in the “Other funds” column. For Medicaid, other state funds include provider taxes, fees, donations, assessments, and local funds.
Federal funds: Funds received directly from the federal government.
Bonds: Expenditures from the sale of bonds, generally for capital projects.
According to a January 2014 report by the nonprofit organization State Budget Solutions, Rhode Island had a state debt of over $18 billion. Its state debt per capita was $17,960. The report revealed that state governments faced a combined $5.1 trillion in debt, 33 percent of annual gross state product. The obligation amounts to $16,178 per capita in the nation. A bulk of the state debt -- 79 percent -- was linked to unfunded public pensions.
|Total state debt in Rhode Island|
|Total state debt||$18,863,153,000||40|
|Per capita debt||$17,960||16|
|State and other fund expenditures||$5,110,000,000||31|
A 2012 report from the Pew Center on the States noted that Rhode Island's pension system was funded at 49 percent at the close of fiscal year 2010, well below the 80 precent funding level experts recommend. Consequently, Pew designated the state's pension system as cause for "serious concern."
The funding ratio for the state's pension system increased from 59.65 percent in fiscal year 2007 to 61.16 percent in fiscal year 2012, an increase of 1.51 percentage points, or 2.5 percent. Likewise, unfunded liabilities decreased from nearly $5 billion in fiscal year 2007 to approximately $4.8 billion in fiscal year 2012.
States sometimes sell general obligation bonds to investors in order to finance large-scale undertakings (e.g., road construction and other public works projects). Credit rating agencies, such as Standard and Poor's, assign grades to states, evaluating their ability to pay the principal and interest on such bonds. Standard and Poor's grades range from AAA, the highest available, to BBB, the lowest. Generally speaking, a higher credit rating indicates lower risk for an investor, which in turn lowers costs for taxpayers.
The table below lists the Standard and Poor's credit rating for Rhode Island from 2001 to 2012 (grades from surrounding states are provided for additional context).
|S&P credit ratings from 2001 to 2012|
|Rhode Island||Connecticut||Massachusetts||New Hampshire||Vermont|
Federal aid to state budget
- See also: Federal aid to budgets in the 50 states
The chart below notes how much of the state’s general revenues come from the federal government. Figures were calculated by dividing each state’s federal intergovernmental revenue into its general revenue. The number in the rightmost column indicates the state's ranking in relation to the rest of the nation (e.g., if "1," the state receives the highest percentage of federal funding in the nation). Figures from neighboring states are included to provide additional context.
State governments receive aid from the federal government to fund a variety of joint programs, such as Medicaid. Federal aid varies considerably from state to state. For example, Mississippi received approximately $7.7 billion in federal aid in 2012, which accounted for more than 45 percent of the state's general revenues. By contrast, Alaska received roughly $2.9 billion in federal aid in 2012, just under 20 percent of the state's general revenues.
|Federal aid to state budgets in 2012|
|State||Federal aid as % of general revenue||Total federal aid||National rank|
Rhode Island received $1.03 billion in federal stimulus funding between February 2009 and June 2013.
|RI Open Government|
|Line item expenditures|
|Public employee salaries|
|Last evaluation date unknown.|
Rhode Island began posting its checkbook register online in February 2008. The site was created using existing monies within the state budget. It allows citizens to view the Treasury's Accounts Payable expenditures. The checkbook register was posted by the Treasurer of Rhode Island, Frank T. Caprio, as the fulfillment of a campaign promise made in 2006:
"This pilot project achieves a key priority of my administration. Our hope is that the Office of the General Treasurer's transparency site will quickly become the model for state and local government in their efforts to be more accessible and accountable to the taxpayers of Rhode Island," Caprio said.
The site also contains information on the current year's fiscal statement, budgets and some general salary data.
Rhode Island's Department of Administration began posting its expenses online in February 2009.
The State of Rhode Island maintains its own Transparency Portal, which contains links to financial records and personnel statements for 15 government departments. It also links to the RIPAY website, which contains expenditures organized by vendor.
Multi-measure budget transparency profile
The Institute of Government and Public Affairs at the University of Illinois created a multi-measure transparency profile for Rhode Island, which measured state transparency as of September 2011 using indicators from a range of organizations. These indicators measured both website transparency and other recognized facets of governmental transparency. In addition, IGPA presented four unique indicators of non-transparency based on the observation that transfers or reassignments between general and special funds can obscure the true fiscal condition of a state.
IGPA devised a budget transparency index based on information available from the National Association of State Budget Officers. Rhode Island tied for first in the nation with two other states, earning eight out of eight possible points.
|Rhode Island - IGPA score for budget process, contents and disclosure|
|Budget transparency indicator||Yes or no?|
|"Generally Accepted Accounting Principles" budget|
|Binding revenue forecast|
|Legislative revenue forecast|
|Constitution or statutory tax/spend limitations|
In addition to the individual state profile, IGPA offers a 50-state comparison and profiles for other states.
U.S. PIRG "Following the Money" report
- See also: Following the Money 2014 Report
The U.S. Public Interest Research Group, a consumer-focused nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C., released its annual report on state transparency websites in April 2014. The report, entitled "Following the Money," measured how transparent and accountable state websites are with regard to state government spending. According to the report, Rhode Island received a grade of D+ and a numerical score of 62, indicating that Rhode Island was "lagging" in terms of transparency regarding state spending.
The Office of the Auditor General (OAG) is the state's legislative audit agency, conducting financial and performance audits to provide independent information to the General Assembly on a variety of topics, including the state's financial condition, its use of federal funds in compliance with federal law and regulations, and whether programs are operating efficiently and effectively. The OAG's audit reports are published online.
The Office of Accounts and Control is responsible for the financial integrity and accountability of state government through sound administrative and accounting controls and procedures. The office is also responsible for the preparation and/or coordination of several publications, including the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, Condensed State Financial Report, State Payroll Manual, Procedural Handbook of the Department of Administration, and the Consolidated Statewide Cost Allocation Plan.
Rhode Island Department of Administration - Budget Office
One Capitol Hill, 4th Floor
Providence, Rhode Island 02908
- Rhode Island government sector lobbying
- Rhode Island public pensions
- Governor of Rhode Island
- Rhode Island State Senate
- Rhode Island House of Representatives
- Rhode Island State Legislature
- State Budget Solutions, Rhode Island
- Model transparency legislation from the American Legislative Exchange Council is available here
- State of Rhode Island Transparency Portal
- Rhode Island Statewide Coalition Foundation
- Ocean State Policy Research Institute
- Rhode Island Department of Administration, Budget Office
- Rhode Island Budget, Fiscal Year 2009
- U.S. PIRG, "Report: Transparent & Accountable Budgets," April 8, 2014
- The New York Times, "Battles loom in many states over what to do with budget surpluses," February 3, 2014
- Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, "Policy Basics: The ABCs of State Budgets," February 7, 2013
- East Bay Rhode Island, "Governor’s plan pulls $1.1 million from town and schools," December 16, 2009
- State of Rhode Island, "Governor Launches Small Business Stimulus Package," December 11, 2009
- Gov. Carcieri, "FY 2010 Governor's Budget," accessed April 19, 2009
- The Providence Journal, "No hunger pangs in the State House," April 1, 2009
- Refers to General Fund spending. Typically in state budgets the General Fund is spending that is most directly controlled by state legislators.
- This figure is derived by calculating the percent difference between the prior two years' spending levels according to the National Association of State Budget Officers.
- Bureau of Labor Statistics, "CPI Detailed Report Data for February 2014," accessed April 9, 2014
- InflationData.com, "Cumulative Inflation Calculator," February 28, 2014
- National Conference of State Legislatures, "State Experiences with Annual and Biennial Budgeting," updated April 2011
- National Association of State Budget Officers, "Budget Processes in the States, Summer 2008," accessed February 21, 2014
- National Association of State Budget Officers "State Expenditure Report, 2011-2013," accessed February 21, 2014
- United States Census Bureau, "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2013," accessed February 26, 2014
- National Association of State Budget Officers, "State Expenditure Report, 2009-2011," accessed February 24, 2014
- National Association of State Budget Officers, "State Expenditures Report, 2010-2012," accessed February 24, 2014
- National Association of State Budget Officers, "State Expenditure Report, 2009," accessed February 24, 2014
- National Association of State Budget Officers, "State Expenditure Report, 2008," accessed February 24, 2014
- United States Census Bureau, "Vintage 2009: Annual Population Estimates," accessed February 26, 2014
- State Budget Solutions, "State Budget Solutions' Fourth Annual State Debt Report," January 8, 2014
- Washington Examiner, "EXography: Unfunded public employee pensions drive state debts skyward," January 21, 2014
- State Budget Solutions "State Budget Solutions' Fourth Annual State Debt Report," January 8, 2014
- Pew Center on the States, "Widening Gap Update: Rhode Island," June 18, 2012
- Employees' Retirement System of Rhode island, "Actuarial Valuation - June 30, 2012," accessed November 19, 2013
- Municipal Employees' Retirement System, "Actuarial Valuation - June 30, 2012," accessed November 19, 2013
- State Police Retirement Benefits Trust, "Actuarial Valuation - June 30, 2012," accessed November 19, 2013
- Judicial Retirement Benefits Trust, "Actuarial Valuation - June 30, 2012," accessed November 19, 2013
- Stateline: The Daily News Service of The Pew Charitable Trusts, "Infographic: S&P State Credit Ratings, 2001-2012," July 13, 2012
- United States Census Bureau, "State Government Finances: 2012," accessed February 24, 2014
- Recovery.gov, "Stimulus Spending by State," accessed February 21, 2014
- Rhode Island.gov, "Treasurer Caprio Debuts State's First Ever Online, Real-time Checkbook of State Spending," February 9, 2009
- Rhode Island.gov, "Department of Administration Launches Transparency Portal," February 16, 2009
- Rhode Island Transparency Portal, "Home page," accessed May 1, 2014
- Institute of Government and Public Affairs at University of Illinois, "Home page," accessed February 21, 2014
- Institute of Government and Public Affairs at University of Illinois, "Budget Transparency Profiles - All 50 States," September 2011
- U.S. Public Interest Research Group, "Following the Money 2014 Report," accessed April 15, 2014
- Rhode Island Office of Accounts and Control, "Home page," accessed November 10, 2009