Header, the Administration of the Honorable Lincoln C. Almond
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May 6, 1999


I hereby transmit today, with my signature, the Fiscal Year 1999 Supplemental Budget Act, House Bill 99-5062, Substitute A, "An Act Making Revised Appropriations for the Support of the State for the Fiscal Year Ending June 30,1999".

On January 12,1999, as required by law, 1 submitted this bill delineating my recommendations for the revised FY 1999 budget based upon expenditure patterns through December 1998 and based upon the November 1998 revenue estimates. I am pleased that the legislation passed nearly four months later by the General Assembly contains the essential elements of my budget recommendations.

With respect to the new convocation and athletic facility at the University of Rhode Island, the General Assembly did include a total of $2.75 million for initial design work. on this project. In addition to this amount, the General Assembly last year committed to match up to $15 million of private monies raised for the facility, which is tentatively scheduled to open in the fall of 2001. In order to spread this large commitment over a period of time, I had proposed that the first installment of $5 million be included in the FY 1999 supplemental budget, and included the second $5 million installment in my FY 2000 budget proposal. Also, almost $6 million in private fundraising pledges have been committed for the URI facility, and the $5 million allocation in the FY 1999 supplemental budget would have reinforced the State's commitment to this effort. While I am disappointed that the Assembly did not include the $5 million installment in the supplemental budget bill, I look forward to working with the Assembly on structuring the State's contribution in FY 2000 and beyond.

Secondly, the supplemental budget does not include increases in full-time equivalent (FTE) positions in certain departments, including the Department of Environmental Management. My Administration can work within these parameters since there is less than two months left in the fiscal year. However, it is important that the legitimate need for additional personnel in various areas of state government is addressed in the FY 2000 Budget.

Over the most serious offense. Additionally, the General Assembly should have provided for appeals to the District Court instead of a three judge panel within the Traffic Tribunal. The Act recognizes thai further improvements to this new traffic adjudication system will be considered by the General Assembly in the future. It is my hope that these issues will be considered as pan of this review.

For the foregoing reasons, I sign this bill into law.


Lincoln Almond