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The new state budget for the fiscal year 2012 is officially in place. The bill was signed by Gov. Lincoln Chafee on Thursday, June 30, and passed into law just one day before the beginning of the fiscal year (July 1, 2011 - June 30, 2012).
Thomas Mullaney, the executive director of the state budget office, confirmed that there were some significant changes from previous budgets on both sides of this yearâ€™s financial blueprint. Most notably, on the revenue side, there will be a new sales tax on non-prescription medication, digital software downloads and sightseeing package tours. On the flip side, state spending was cut by more than $100 million.
â€śThe budget normally gets done around this time,said Mullaney, â€śThere is a lot of work that goes into it and these things take time, especially because of the changes on the revenue side.â€ť
Chafee spoke Thursday after he signed the bill about the process and his thoughts on the budget moving forward.
â€śI have worked closely with the legislature, particularly the Speaker, Senate President, and Finance Committee Chairmen, to ensure that the budget begins to address our most serious challenges,â€ť he said. â€śI am pleased that the legislation I signed into law today includes many of my priorities.â€ť
The governor continued: â€śI am confident that the General Assembly joins me in recognizing the severity of the fiscal challenges we face, and I am satisfied that this budget is the result of positive collaboration and working together.â€ť
The budget totals $7.7 million, and as that money is dispersed, it has an impact on each and every community in the state. Now that the budget is finalized, and currently taking affect, all of the different communities want to know what impact it will have on them. Some may be disgruntled over new taxes while others may be excited over relief funds given to their community. But if you ask anyone in the towns of Charlestown, Richmond and Hopkinton what is important to them, they will mostly tell you the same thing: Education.
Every public school system in the state receives an allocated amount of eduction aid from the state budget, and the people who live in the towns serviced by the Chariho Regional School District hold education as a very high priority.
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