BLM RI PAC Statement on Mayor Smiley Budget Proposal 


Providence, RI: Providence Mayor Brett Smiley released his FY24 budget proposal yesterday. 

Black Lives Matter RI PAC had the following reaction:

A budget is more than just a series of numbers on a page, it is an embodiment of values and principles. If that is true, then Mayor Smiley’s budget does a grave disservice to Black & Brown communities in Providence.

We urge the Mayor and City Council of Providence to reject the current budget proposal. It fails to prioritize the needs and values of the city's residents. LaJuan Allen, board member, said “the proposed allocation of millions of dollars towards policing and harmful strategies demonstrates a lack of concern for police reform and the increasing police violence in marginalized communities.” 

Furthermore, the proposed hike in residential taxes disproportionately burdens homeowners and worsens the affordable housing crisis. We call on the City Council to work with the Mayor to craft a more equitable budget that addresses the community's needs.

A preliminary review of the budget raises the following concerns: 

  • Despite a historic low in violent crime in Providence, the decision to invest an additional $8 million in the Providence Police Department (PPD) while level-funding Providence Public Schools (PPSD).
  • Ignoring the recommendations of the Providence Municipal Reparations Commission, which sought to support the city in repairing the harms that Black and Brown families have endured by the city and other private institutions. 
    • Stalling the implementation and dissemination of APRA funds for community programs & organizations that sought to mitigate the impact of the pandemic in Black and Brown communities. 
  • The promotion of the newly announced ATV enforcement program, which includes invasive surveillance techniques and may lead to unnecessary criminalization.
  • Increasing residential tax rate while decreasing the commercial tax rate (which will have a disproportionate impact on Black & Brown homeowners).