What People Are Saying About the Signing of the Historic FY2023 State Budget

Published on Tuesday, June 28, 2022

On June 27, Governor Dan McKee signed the FY 2023 State budget, making crucial investments to maintain Rhode Island’s economic momentum. The budget makes historic investments to address the housing crisis and strengthen Rhode Island’s economy while providing targeted tax relief to families, veterans and local businesses.

Here's a sampling of what people are saying:

"The FY23 Budget will help ease the stress and economic strain on individuals, families and employers in a variety of ways. The small business community appreciates the state’s infusion of money into the Unemployment Trust Fund that was heavily depleted during the pandemic. It will also assist in reducing their UI tax rate for 2023. East Providence businesses and the waterfront are poised to benefit from Rhode Island’s focus on the Blue Economy; and children and adults will benefit from several affordable housing developments that are underway in the City."

- Laura A. McNamara, Executive Director of the East Providence Area Chamber of Commerce

"We would like to thank Governor McKee and the entire leadership team of the Legislature for passing a budget that will truly have an immediate and long-term impact on the individuals and families we serve, especially those facing homelessness, social determinants of health and food insecurity. This budget proves to all of us that with a great partnership between the State of Rhode Island and the Community Action Agencies we truly can assist all those who enter our doors for assistance."

- Paul Salera and Rilwan Feyisitan, Co-Chairs of the Rhode Island Community Action Association

"This has been a longtime coming. We are grateful Governor McKee recognized the valuable and continued role our military retires play in our communities and state economy as well as acknowledging their past service."

- Erik B Wallin, Executive Director of Operation Stand Down Rhode Island

"The Rhode Island Business Coalition, representing 50+ industries, is pleased that $100 million dollars is in this year's budget to help replenish the Unemployment Insurance Fund. RIBC believes this is a fiscally prudent use of ARPA funds to stabilize the UI fund and provide a supportive foundation should an economic downturn occur. The additional funds provide for tax relief and will help continue a robust economic recovery."

- John Simmons, President of the Rhode Island Business Coalition

"On behalf of the membership of the RI Society of CPAs/RI Business Forum, we thank Governor McKee for his leadership on reducing the penalty interest rate – something we have advocated for since the 1970’s. We also applaud his support for eliminating the car tax one year early along with other common sense initiatives to reduce taxes for all taxpayers in Rhode Island including Veterans, the elderly and small business owners. Great job!"

- Melissa Travis, President and CEO of the Rhode Island Society of CPAs

“Rhode Island’s children and families are the backbone and future of our state. I am so pleased that the Governor’s budget, supported by the General Assembly, provides enhanced funding for children’s health and educational services, as well as better access to quality childcare. Thanks to increased payment rates, children and families will have more access to comprehensive early intervention and educational services, medical home pediatric healthcare and parents can go to work reassured that their children are receiving care in quality daycares. By passing and signing this child-friendly budget, our elected officials put Rhode Island on the map as a state who values their children and families with these dedicated financial investments.”

- Dr. Elizabeth Lange, a pediatrician and President of the RI Medical Society

“The budget passed by the General Assembly and signed into law today by Governor McKee contains numerous wins for the health and education of Rhode Island’s children and parents. The budget increases access to quality, affordable child care for working parents, while investing in our state’s workforce of early educators. We’re also pleased to see much needed investments in Early Intervention and First Connections, programs that are essential to young children experiencing developmental challenges. Finally, the budget includes important wins for child and maternal health including expanding Medicaid coverage for low-income children regardless of immigration status and expanding Medicaid coverage through 12-months postpartum to ensure the health of new moms. The RIght from the Start Campaign thanks Governor McKee, the House and Senate for their work on this budget and for important investments that will help to ensure all Rhode Island kids get off to the right start in life.”

- Leanne Barrett, Senior Policy Analyst of Rhode Island KIDS COUNT and Coordinator of Right from the Start Campaign

“The budget passed by the General Assembly and signed by the Governor today includes many important, equitable investments in children and families that will improve child outcomes and Rhode Island’s future success. Rhode Island’s leadership for children’s health insurance took a major step forward with passage of Cover All Kids that expands eligibility so that all low-income Rhode Island children can access RIte Care health insurance coverage, regardless of immigration status. The budget also extends postpartum RIte Care coverage to 12 months regardless of immigration status – a critical policy for both new mothers and their infants. We also were pleased to see that the budget includes key investments in access to high quality child care, mental health, and affordable housing –critical needs that became even more apparent during the COVID-19 pandemic. Importantly, the budget also includes essential rate increases for child care, Early Intervention, First Connections, community-based programs serving children in the care of DCYF, pediatrics and other essential health and human service rate increases to address the workforce crisis and ensure that children and families can access the services they need. Finally, the budget includes a much-needed Medicaid Rate Review/Rate Setting process and a plan for the doubling of RI-Pre-K seats within five years. Rhode Island KIDS COUNT thanks Governor McKee, the Rhode Island House of Representatives and Senate for their work on this budget that includes so many vital investments in Rhode Island’s children and families.”

- Elizabeth Burke Bryant, Executive Director of Rhode Island KIDS COUNT

"The Rhode Island chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics was pleased to see that the Governor's budget which was passed by the General Assembly prioritized the health and wellness of children and families. The support of pediatricians and programs such as Early Intervention mean that we can continue the work of caring for children with or at risk of disabilities, children and teens suffering during the mental health crisis, vaccinating children against preventable illnesses, supporting their families, and so much more."

- Dr. Allison Brindle, M.D., FAAP, President of the RI Chapter of the American Association of Pediatrics

"We are pleased to see a number of policies and investments that will promote economic security for low-income families, who are disproportionately people of color. These include the increase in eligibility for and retention of subsidized childcare through the Child Care Assistance Program as well as critical investments for the staff who provide these essential services. Making permanent the opportunity to use CCAP to enable college attendance will help ease the challenges that single parents face when attending post-secondary education. We were glad to see that parents enrolled in the RI Works program will also be able to pursue post-secondary education for two years. The RI Works law was also amended to expand the lifetime limit for benefits from 48 to 60 months which will ensure that parents have sufficient time to gain the skills they need to succeed in the workforce. Rhode Island is also moving forward in promoting equity for our immigrant neighbors, including providing RIte Care for all children, providing 12 months post-partum coverage to all women who were enrolled in RIte Care for prenatal care, and allowing people who do not have lawful status to obtain a driver privilege card. We note that these changes not only benefit the impacted individuals, but our whole community. Our children attend school together – so ensuring that all children have access to healthcare makes our schools healthier. Requiring all drivers to pass a test and have insurance makes our roads safer and can help lower the cost of insurance."

- Weayonnoh Nelson-Davies, Executive Director of the Economic Progress Institute

“Thank you to Governor McKee for including funding for enhanced job training, particularly as a Real Jobs RI Partner, and for focusing on marginalized communities. Black Lives Matter Rhode Island supports the Governor’s Fiscal Year 2023 budget, which has funding for minority businesses, crisis intervention training for police in all thirty-nine of our cities and towns, ample funding for housing, and funding for postpartum care, which disproportionately affects Black women.”

– Brother Gary Dantzler, Founder and Executive Director of Black Lives Matter Rhode Island

"The investment in the South Quay is a major investment in the growing renewable energy industry and Rhode Island's port infrastructure, which will create long-term well-paying jobs for our residents. More importantly, this development includes a revenue-sharing opportunity for East Providence that will provide financial flexibility that will lower the city's reliance on property taxes," Mayor Bob DaSilva said. "We have worked closely with Gov. Dan Mckee and his staff, as well as Speaker Joseph Shekarchi and Senate President Dominick Ruggerio on this investment in our future."

- Mayor Roberto DaSilva, East Providence

"We are very pleased to see that funding for the South Quay port was included in the budget by Gov. Dan McKee and approved by the General Assembly. This port development will strengthen the state's blue economy and allow Rhode Island to remain a leader in the expansion of the offshore wind industry," RI Waterfront Enterprises COO Seth Grady said. "We thank Gov. McKee, Mayor Bob DaSilva, Senate President Dominick Ruggerio, and House Speaker Joseph Shekarchi who worked together on supporting this investment, which will now be signed into law."

- Seth Grady, COO of Rhode Island Waterfront Enterprises

“Rhode Island’s municipal leaders thank the Governor and General Assembly for bringing relief to our taxpayers and supporting municipalities in the current budget, as well as including several of our budget priorities in the amended FY 2023 budget,” said Almonte. “Eliminating the car tax ahead of a year ahead of schedule, funding the PILOT (Payment in Lieu of Taxes) program at the mandated 27%, and addressing enrollment fluctuations in school districts to even out the temporary imbalance will lessen the burden on local taxpayers. The League looks forward to continuing its work with the Governor and the General Assembly to advocate for reforms, eliminate unfunded state mandates, and continue local aid programs that directly affect our communities and local taxpayers.”

- Ernie Almonte, Executive Director of Rhode Island League of Cities and Towns

“Teamster’s Local 251 is pleased to see the investment in good jobs in Rhode Island through expansion of the Motion Picture Production Tax Credits. The good jobs in film and television support families. The spending by productions on filming in Rhode Island is an engine for economic growth in our communities. Attracting more of these jobs and spending on Rhode Island businesses is a worthwhile investment.”

- Matt Taibi, Secretary Treasurer/Chief Principle Officer of Teamsters Local 251

“This is a solid budget for Rhode Island’s working people. By including increased funding for workforce development, a new school construction bond measure, a commitment to doubling the number of pre-k seats over the next 5 years, replenishing the unemployment trust fund, and initiating a pilot project to make RIPTA’s R-Line fare free, working class Rhode Islanders have a real chance to come out of the pandemic stronger than ever.”

- Patrick Crowley, Secretary-Treasurer of the Rhode Island AFL-CIO

“This is truly a monumental moment for Rhode Islanders with disabilities, their families and the people that provide them with services to live inclusive lives. Because of these investments, a broken system can begin down a path of repair. This budget sends a clear message to Rhode Islanders with disabilities: ‘We have heard your needs, we value you and we are investing in your future.’”

- Tina Spears, Executive Director of the Community Provider Network

“The FY23 State Budget is reflective of a clear signal of commitment by House and Senate Leadership and the Governor to address the urgent needs of Rhode Islanders facing homelessness and housing unaffordability and insecurity. We applaud their leadership in making a historic and transformative level of investment in housing. These investments are critically necessary resources to aid the State in addressing its decade’s long housing crisis head on. The member organizations of the Housing Network of Rhode Island stand ready to do their part in making our State a place where all Rhode Islanders have access to safe and decent homes that are affordable to them.”

- Melina Lodge, Executive Director of the Housing Network of Rhode Island

“We thank Governor McKee and General Assembly leaders for their commitment to addressing our state’s excessive housing shortage. It is our hope that the budget’s unprecedented investment is a starting point that allows for new housing opportunities, while addressing the housing needs of all Rhode Islanders.”

- Phil Tedesco, CEO of the Rhode Island Association of Realtors

“We are grateful to the Governor, Speaker Shekarchi, President Ruggerio and their colleagues in the General Assembly for providing support for the nonprofit organizations that are doing the boots-on-the-ground work helping Rhode Islanders recover from the pandemic. We look forward to effectively and efficiently designing the grant program and getting these funds into the hands of organizations across the state as they continue to respond to the needs of their communities.”

- Neil D. Steinberg, President and CEO of Rhode Island Foundation

“We are so grateful for our state’s leadership with this historic investment in affordable housing. For the hundreds of Rhode Islanders living outside or waiting for shelter, this will save lives. We ask that the state continue funding affordable housing until no one in our state is without a home.”

- Caitlin Frumerie, Executive Director of the Rhode Island Coalition to End Homelessness

“The state's FY23 budget demonstrates the commitment to equity and relief for the most vulnerable Rhode Islanders and small businesses. For too long, those struggling to make ends meet have been left behind. We're grateful this budget provides targeted resources to help families and small businesses survive and thrive.”

- Lisa Ranglin, Founder and President of the Rhode Island Black Business Association

"Increasing access to healthy and affordable housing is essential for our state’s recovery from the economic and health impacts caused by COVID -19. HousingWorks RI applauds our congressional delegation for securing the federal ARPA funds and we are grateful to our state leaders for allocating significant funding in our state budget to address longstanding housing challenges. We pledge to work closely with our state and local leaders to ensure that all Rhode Islanders have a healthy and affordable place to call home."

- Brenda Clement, Director of HousingWorks RI

"The investments in workforce education in the FY23 budget are critical to the long-term strength of the manufacturing sector - and to the strength of Rhode Island's economy. 90% of Ocean State manufacturers are small businesses. We applaud the Governor for prioritizing training that will prepare our next generation of creators, small business entrepreneurs and employers. Investments in advanced manufacturing training programs, which increase access to family sustaining wages and benefits, are critical in the work towards racial equity."

- Lindsey Brickle, Senior Workforce Manager of Polaris MEP

"Solving a housing crisis is much more than just recognizing we need to build more. It’s a comprehensive solution that involves training and recruiting a workforce. The FY 2023 budget contributes needed resources by allowing the Real Jobs program to continue its success, and with that, it puts in motion strategies to help RI industries. With continued funding for education and training, residential construction has a chance to develop the capacity to build more, house more, and grow our State’s economy."

- John Marcantonio, Chief Executive Officer of RI Builders Association

“Rhode Island College (RIC) is in full support of additional funding for workforce development and expanded educational opportunities for Rhode Islanders. Rhode Island College has been an active participant in the Real Jobs initiative since the inception of the program. These critical funds have allowed us to develop and deliver job training programs specific to the needs of employers utilizing the expertise of RIC faculty and business and industry partners. RIC has developed in-demand, employer-driven stackable credentials for unemployed and underemployed Rhode Islanders as well as incumbent employees looking to advance in a career. Additional funding will create greater access for Rhode Islanders to increased educational and employment opportunities.”

- Jenifer Giroux, Associate Vice President Professional Studies and Continuing Education at Rhode Island College

“The FY2023 budget invests in workers and employers, setting the stage for high quality, family-wage jobs while helping industries heavily impacted by COVID-19. From the enhanced $10M Real Jobs allocation to the $250M school construction bond ballot question and resources for workforce development in health care and early childhood education, these investments provide powerful opportunities to expand the use of Registered Apprenticeship – a proven workforce development model that meets employer needs and expands economic opportunity for Rhode Islanders.”

- Andrew Cortés, Executive Director of Building Futures

"The RI Marine Trade Association (RIMTA) was pleased to see that Governor McKee's fiscal year 2023 budget included ongoing support for both education and workforce development. The investment to continue growing the Real Jobs RI program is essential for the employers and businesses in our state to hire and train a skilled workforce that is needed to remain competitive in both the local and global economy."

- Brian Dursi, Executive Director of the Rhode Island Marine Trade Association

“The current economic climate is driving up the need for accessible workforce training programs like the initiatives funded by the Real Jobs RI program. Since partnering with the RI Department of Labor and Training in 2019, Clinica Esperanza/ Hope Clinic has graduated more than 70 community health workers, medical interpreters, and healthy lifestyle instructors through the Advanced Navegante Training Program. Participants are placed in careers that are impactful and pay at least $20 per hour. Support for these programs is imperative to improving the economic condition of Rhode Island as well as getting Rhode Islanders back to work amid the pandemic. Clinica Esperanza/ Hope Clinic is a proud partner of the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training workforce training programs. We look forward to continuing our work together during FY 2023.”

- Morgan Leonard, Director of Clinic Operations of Clínica Esperanza/Hope Clinic

“Rhode Islanders need and deserve safe, affordable and healthy housing. This budget represents a wonderful start towards the goal of meeting and exceeding housing needs for decades to come. I thank Governor McKee, Speaker Shekarchi, Senate President Ruggerio and members of the General Assembly for their efforts in creating this budget. I look forward to working with the administration to see these investments through and to address the necessary policy shifts with the General Assembly to continue this great work.”

- Kyle Bennett, Director of Policy and Equity of United Way of Rhode Island

“The priorities laid by Governor McKee in collaboration with General Assembly leadership in the FY23 Budget are key to not only our immediate continued rebound, but also our state’s long-term success. Small businesses have been struggling the past two years, and having them be a focus was a welcomed and needed sight. One key investment was the $100M added to the unemployment trust fund, which will help lower our taxes. We welcome all tax relief to Rhode Island families, elderly, veterans and others as putting more pockets in Rhode Islanders will have a net positive effect on our small businesses.”

- Chris Parisi, Co-founder of the Rhode Island Small Business Coalition

“Governor McKee has been a longstanding advocate for the performing arts and small business community. As Lt. Governor, McKee spoke to us almost daily, engaging us on how to make Rhode Island more small business friendly. His leadership encouraged us to find our voice and he was always there to listen. The Governor took our feedback back to the State House and for the first time, in recent memory, developed a Small Business Budget Article. With Dan in charge, our economy, our families, and our futures are in good hands. We commend the Governor for his Fiscal Year 2023 Budget.”

- Hugo Adames, Co-owner of The Talent Factory