R.I. policymakers rank 12th in U.S. for fiscal planning
COURTESY CENTER ON BUDGET AND POLICY PRIORITIES
RHODE ISLAND'S fiscal-planning policies scored 6.5 out of 10 in a new report by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, placing the Ocean State at No. 12 nationally and at the high end of the "average" score range. The map above depicts which states scored low (orange), average (yellow) or high (blue).
PROVIDENCE – The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities has ranked Rhode Island’s policymakers 12th among the 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia for the state’s use of sound fiscal planning to budget for the state’s future, the nonprofit think-tank announced Tuesday.
The report evaluated each state’s performance on 10 fiscal-planning measures, awarding one point for a well-implemented measure, half a point for an implemented measure in need of improvement, and zero points for a measure not implemented at all.
Rhode Island scored 6.5 out of 10, an “average” score according to the report. The Ocean State received full marks for the following five measures:
Detailed and accessible projections of revenue and spending for at least five years into the future.
A formal mechanism to create consensus among the executive and legislative branches on a revenue forecast for upcoming years.
An adequately funded “rainy day” fund designated for situations in which state revenue drops or expenditures increase unexpectedly.
Adequate pension contributions and oversight of investments as well as guidelines for the amount of debt that can be incurred.
Regular reports on revenue and spending projections in order to determine if the budget is on track.
The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities also identified areas of Rhode Island’s fiscal planning policies in need of improvement, including the state’s use of fiscal notes that regularly include estimated savings or costs for at least five years into the future, non-partisan reviews of legislation requiring increased spending and revenue, and independent reviews of the methods used to determine future pension funding.
Two fiscal measures evaluated in the report are not implemented in Rhode Island at all, including a “current services baseline,” which provides information about how much the state would need to spend to maintain services for a given program, and adequate oversight of tax expenditures.
“Rhode Island can and should do more long-term planning to help build a strong economy, cope with economic ups and downs, and improve government efficiency,” said Kate Brewster, executive director of the Economic Progress Institute in Providence, an affiliate of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. “People across the political spectrum can agree that adopting proven, nonpartisan tools that allow our lawmakers to do so is in the Ocean State’s best interest.”
Connecticut ranked the highest of all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia, with a score of 8.5, followed by Tennessee (8), Maryland (8), Washington (7.5) and Louisiana (7.5). Massachusetts ranked 40th with a score of 4.5.
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