The closely watched
Among the areas that were clear Tuesday: There will be no broad-based tax increase, no state dollars for a redevelopment of the so-called Superman building in downtown
Also clear: The budget will include
Not clear on Tuesday evening was how the state will avoid the Sakonnet bridge toll and pay for bridge and road maintenance, or how the state will close the projected deficit that has emerged as a result of higher
But Mattiello said the budget will address the deficit and will ultimately "promote economic development."
"It's ultimately going to be a very good budget, not without any sacrifice, but I believe the budget is one that overall, people are going to be very pleased with," the
One of the areas of sacrifice will involve upkeep of bridges and roads.
Mattiello did not provide specifics on how the budget calls for the state to pay for such projects, nor did he confirm speculation among lawmakers that the plan would raise the state's gasoline tax, now
"Nobody is in favor of increased fees," he said. But if the money is dedicated to critical maintenance of "all our bridges and roadways ... I think that the public is ultimately better off."
What the House speaker did make clear is that the corporate tax will be reduced from 9 percent to 7 percent in tax year 2015, and he said a companion change, one that allows the state to consider a corporation's income in other states when calculating the tax owed in
He offered fewer details on the planned reduction of the estate tax. Asked to confirm speculation that the new threshold, now
But he said the plan, rather than "reduce the taxable income," would provide a tax credit for estates with values above the current threshold and within the new cutoff. He also said the plan would eliminate the so-called cliff that allows the tax to cover every dollar of an estate that exceeds the threshold.
Anticipating this proposal,
Mattiello, in response, said, "I respect that perspective. The other perspective is the one that I have been hearing from the business community, the accountants, the estate planners that say: Please help us stop our citizens that have been successful in their lifetime for having to leave the state of
He also defended the plan to make the next 38 Studios payment and said that "while the issue frustrates people," there is strong support for that move among House members.
"There is no expert saying we should not pay it that I know of," he said.
When asked how the budget closes the
"It's a creative plan," he said. "I'm very pleased with some of the ideas we are discussing, but I'm not going to discuss specifics right now."
When asked about the
In other areas, Mattiello said the budget provides all the dollars called for by the state's school funding formula and includes at least one of the proposals that Chafee proposed be placed on the November ballot: a
"It's a great program," he said. "We draw kids into the state, we draw revenue into the state, and we provide a great education to our students, and when we do something really well we should protect it and promote it. And they need a new facility in order to continue the excellence of that program."
He also left the door open to state support of a bid to turn the vacant
If approved, the state would lease 132,500 square feet within the power station building, also known as the Dynamo House, for more than
"It has not been finally determined," Mattiello said, but "I have been speaking to a lot of folks in the last couple of days who are in support of it ... so I will probably be in support of it."
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