Letter: State must find revenue while stimulating the economy

Posted 5/28/20

As we begin to re-open our economy and our communities gradually get back to work, it is important to keep in mind that the coronavirus is still among us. Our governor, health director and town …

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Letter: State must find revenue while stimulating the economy

Posted

As we begin to re-open our economy and our communities gradually get back to work, it is important to keep in mind that the coronavirus is still among us. Our governor, health director and town officials have been extraordinary in navigating us through this pandemic with competence and compassion. Now we are preparing to adjust to a new way of living and working and to meet the challenges of our State’s financial situation. 

The General Assembly will reconvene soon, and it will confront a nearly $900 million deficit for the 2020-2021 fiscal year. Congress’s next relief package will, hopefully, provide some funding to help fill this gap. In the meantime, we are committed to supporting policies that assist our small businesses and help rebuild our economy while we address the revenue crisis. We must preserve aid to our towns to ensure that education and front-line services receive the funds they need to keep our communities safe and our students well-educated. We cannot just push this burden onto to the cities and towns who have already passed their budgets for the coming year.

At the state level, we must find creative revenue solutions that move us forward and stimulate the economy.  We must resist the austerity measures that may hinder our future. Too often we hear politicians saying we need to cut government jobs and slash funding to our safety-net programs. We cannot fix this economy on the backs of the people who need the most help. We urge Congress to fund jobs programs that will put Rhode Islanders to work —when it is safe to do so — to continue rebuilding our infrastructure, to fund training and education programs that will prepare workers for this rapidly changing new economy, and to provide assistance to the small businesses that are such an important part of our Main Streets and our quality of life. 

When the House of Representatives begins its legislative work again — these principles will guide our work: advocate for more federal stimulus aid; seek creative ways to increase state revenues, support programs that create jobs and enhance training, and preserve essential social and front-line services and aid to education. Our future will be determined by the decisions we make today. Let’s make sure our communities are thriving on the other side of this pandemic.

Rep. Susan Donovan
Bristol
Representative, District 69

Rep. June Speakman
Warren
Representative, District 68

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