House Minority Leader Chippendale Statement on the FY24 Budget
State House, Providence – House Minority Leader Michael Chippendale offers the following statement on the FY24 budget:
The Fiscal Year 2024 budget process in the House was different than previous years for the House Minority Caucus. When the governor released his budget in February, leadership in the House Minority worked collaboratively with leadership in the Majority to craft a better budget for Rhode Island citizens and small businesses.
As we do during each budget process, we identified a number of concerns in the budget bill. As each issue was explored and a proposed solution reached, we worked with House Fiscal Staff and the Speaker’s office to integrate approximately two dozen good-government proposals into the budget. While this may not be the exact budget that I would have created, it is a budget that I can support.
One of our greatest achievements was in offering major reforms in Medicaid language that cost the state nothing, but avoids potential compliance fines from the federal government, and gains greater access to federal funding. This could result in millions of dollars, previously unattainable, that could enhance and improve healthcare and education services in our state.
Key budget takeaways that House Republicans championed:
- Operational Efficiency - Republicans support efficiencies in government operations and the elimination of waste. The added transparency in several key government departments will lead to better fiscal management.
- Rural Towns – Conservation District funding was increased. Farmland Preservation is funded. Two additional forest ranger’s positions were added to the Department of Environmental Management (RIDEM). Municipal public safety projects will receive state support.
- Pro-Taxpayer, Pro-Business – Tangible Tax relief for small businesses. We eliminated certain business licensing requirements. The Corporate Tax Credit Scholarship amount increased.
- Fighting Inflation – Skyrocketing inflation and failed energy policies negatively impacted all Rhode Islanders. Republican initiatives to better support the LIHEAP program; calls for a pause in the gross receipts tax on energy, food bank support and Medicaid changes will better serve Rhode Islanders in need, and are all included.
- Education – For years, Republicans called for greater focus on multi-language learners, which gained support in this year’s budget. The Office of Child Advocate will now have an education advocate. We also fully funded local schools and added disability protections into the Hope Scholarship so that all Rhode Island students have the same opportunity.
- Other important elements – No eminent domain was allowed into the Department of Housing. Guardrails were added for iGaming. The Department of Children Youth and Families (DCYF) desperately needed female youth facility will be constructed. We eliminated the allocation for a federal lobbyist.
Next year will present formidable budgetary challenges for Rhode Island, where we must maintain a keen focus on lowering the total budget costs going forward, as the one-time federal funds will no longer be available. House Republicans are dedicated to building upon the good government reforms we championed this year and commit to continuing our fight for fiscal sustainability for the benefit of all our citizens, businesses and communities.
House Minority Caucus Medicaid Amendments Incorporated into FY24 Budget
Creating millions of dollars in savings, transparency and oversight for Rhode Island taxpayers
State House, Providence – The House Minority Caucus was able to incorporate cost neutral accountability amendments into the FY24 budget, that will result in increased savings to the taxpayer and more transparency in government.
Below were the amendments negotiated with the Speaker:
- Article III: Government Reform
A new requirement that all state agencies report on their progress on corrective action plans from deficiencies discovered by the state auditor to the House and Senate Fiscal offices. This will improve legislative oversight and agency accountability to lawmakers and the public. This provision will be very important especially to large programs like the Medicaid program where numerous issues of failed compliance and inefficiencies cost taxpayers and reduce government effectiveness.
- Article IX: Medical Assistance
A new requirement for the Secretary of the Executive Office of Health and Human Services to report to the General Assembly all federally required health quality measures in Medicaid to the General Assembly, including child health, adult health and health home quality measures. This will ensure compliance with federal law, and improve legislative oversight of the Medicaid program.
- Article IV: Taxes
A temporary provision that exempts individuals who lose Medicaid coverage in 2023 from the uninsured tax penalty. This provision will better ensure that no individual is penalized for being uninsured after losing Medicaid coverage from the ending of the public health emergency and the unwinding of Medicaid continuous eligibility
Other Medicaid provisions previously advocated for and secured by the House Minority Caucus:
- The hospital state directed managed care payment program. This new program will help increase Medicaid rates paid to hospitals while establishing new quality metrics that must be met for the hospital to receive payment
- The expansion of the Sherlock Plan through the federal Ticket to Work option. This will allow disabled individuals ages 16-64 to work and retain Medicaid coverage. This will improve and increase the number of individuals with disability who can participate in the work force in Rhode Island.
- The reform of the hospital licensing fees to come into compliance with federal law and regulations. Rhode Island has been out of compliance in how this fee was charged to hospitals. The FY 24 budget changes this fee structure to come in compliance with federal law.
The House Minority Caucus wishes to thank the Speaker and the House Finance Committee for including these important provisions into this year’s budget.