Header, the Administration of the Honorable Lincoln C. Almond
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Thursday, February 15, 1996

Governor Almond's Budget Designed to Reengineer State Government

Governor Lincoln Almond today submitted his budget proposal for the Fiscal Year 1997.

The total budget amounts to $3.5 billion, with $1.7 billion coming from general state revenues. The balance of the revenues comes from federal grants and other sources.

"It is clear we have a government we can't afford," Governor Almond said in his message to the Rhode Island General Assembly. "If we do not solve this problem, we will not have the resources to invest in health care, education, roads or job development, or assist our local communities."

The Governor proposes to keep funding for General Revenue Sharing to cities and town at last year's levels, and he is also proposing to level fund the PILOT program. In addition, the Governor will level fund state aid to elementary and secondary education. "I have ensured that under my proposal, none of the poorer districts will receive a cut from last year's levels," Almond said.

The Governor intends to downsize state government, through consolidations, department mergers, and an early retirement program. The total savings from these measures amounts to $29.9 million.

Highlights of the Governor's budget proposal:

• Under the Governor's proposed workforce reduction plan, 1,084 full-time equivalent state positions will be eliminated.

- The elimination's will occur through early retirement, department mergers and consolidations.

• The elimination of three cabinet-level departments.

- The Department of Employment and Training and the Department of Labor will be merged into one Department of Labor and Training.

- The Department of Elderly Affairs will be merged into the Department of Human Services.

- The Department of Library Services will be merged into the Department of Administration.

• The Consolidation of 23 separate agencies into eight existing agencies. Among those consolidations:

- The Sheriff's Department and Capitol Police will become part of the Court system.

- E-911, the Municipal Police Academy and the State Fire Marshall's Office will become part of the State Police.

- The Emergency Management Agency will become part of Military Operations.

• A proposed $50 million bond issue for development of Quonset Point/Davisville, including funding for the Third Rail Project.

• The budget also provides for a $5 million bond issue for a Brownfields Loan Program.

• A proposed $21.4 million bond issue for telecommunications initiatives for all institutions of higher learning.

"Even though we have serious budget problems, we must invest in our future. I intend to do this by reengineering state government to do more with less, while still effectively and ethically meeting our most basic duties and responsibilities as government officials. And we must protect the most at risk in our society," Governor Almond said.