RIPEC: R.I. FY16 direct general expenditure ranks in highest half of nation

PROVIDENCE – In fiscal 2016, Rhode Island was among the top half of highest spending states in the nation per $1,000 of personal income and per capita, according to a report from the Rhode Island Public Expenditures Council released Friday.

Rhode Island ranked No. 16 per capita for total direct government general expenditures at $9,662, 5.6 percent higher than the national average of $9,148 (the higher the ranking, the greater the spending). The Ocean State ranked No. 21 for its direct general expenditures per $1,000 of personal income at $189.88, 4.2 percent more than the national average.

The report is based on the most recent Census figures available.

Rhode Island was reported to have the fourth-highest direct general expenditure per capita in New England behind Vermont, Massachusetts and Connecticut. Per $1,000 of personal income, Rhode Island ranked No. 3 in the region for direct expenditure in fiscal 2016 behind Vermont and Maine.

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The report breaks down the direct spend into seven sections: education and libraries; social services and income maintenance; transportation; public safety; environment and housing; government administration and interest on general debt; and other.

The report also noted that between fiscal year 2006 and fiscal year 2016, direct expenditure in Rhode Island increased 24.9 percent, compared with the national increase of 38.7 percent. The Ocean State ranked No. 15 for per capita direct general expenditures in fiscal 2015 and No. 22 per $1,000 of personal income.

Direct General Expenditures, from highest spending rank to lowest

Government administration & interest on general debt

Rhode Island ranked No. 5 for highest per capita expenditure on government administration and interest on general debt at $1,033, compared with the $747 U.S. average. RIPEC noted that the state’s interest on general debt was particularly high in relation to the rest of the country. Rhode Island was the second-highest ranked for government administration and general debt interest per capita in New England behind Connecticut. Per $1,000 of personal income, the state ranked No. 3, topping the region on spending in the expenditure category. Massachusetts ranked No. 8 and No. 21, respectively, on a per capita and per $1,000 of personal income basis.

Public safety

Per capita, Rhode Island ranked No. 6 for public safety expenditures at $950, 22.2 percent higher than the U.S. average of $778 and No. 7 in the country per $1,000 of personal income at $18.68. Rhode Island ranked the highest of any New England state both per capita and per $1,000. The Ocean State spent more on fire protection in both metrics than any other state in the nation. Massachusetts ranked No. 19 and No. 46, respectively for per capita and per $1,000 of personal income spending on public safety.

Environment & housing:

Rhode Island ranked No. 15 per capita at $693 and No. 19 per $1,000 of personal income at $13.61 for environment and housing. In the region Rhode Island ranked No. 3 for highest expenditure per capita and per $1,000. Massachusetts ranked No. 30 per $1,000 and No. 11 per capita. The ranking includes housing and community development spending, for which Rhode Island ranked No. 3 in the nation per $1,000 of personal income and No. 5 per capita.

Education & library:

Rhode Island ranked No. 16 per capita for education expenses at $3,266 and No. 26 per $1,000 of personal income at $64.19. Rhode Island ranked No. 4 in New England per capita and No. 2 per 1,000 of personal income in New England. Support for higher education ranked No. 45 in the nation on both a per capita and per $1,000 of personal income basis. Massachusetts’ overall spending on education and libraries ranked No. 13 and No. 45 per capita and per $1,000, respectively.

Social services & income maintenance:

Rhode Island ranked No. 27 ($2,759) and No. 30 ($54.22), respectively, for highest social services and income maintenance expenditures in the U.S. per capita and per $1,000 of personal income. The Ocean State ranked No. 5 in New England per capita and No. 3 per $1,000. Massachusetts ranked No. 10 per capita and No. 32 per $1,000.

Transportation:

Rhode Island ranked No. 44 ($462 per capita) and No. 48 ($9.09 per $1,000 of personal income) for transportation in fiscal 2016. The Ocean State ranked as having the lowest per capita expenditure on transportation in the region and the second lowest per $1,000 of personal income behind Connecticut. Massachusetts ranked No. 24 per capita and No. 43 per $1,000 of personal income.

Other:

The report noted that Rhode Island ranked No. 8 ($1,453 per capita) and No. 5 ($28.56 per $1,000 of personal income) for insurance trust, which includes spending on things such as public employee retirement systems, unemployment compensation, state workers’ compensation systems and disability insurance trusts.

Total expenditures:

Rhode Island had a total expenditure, including intergovernmental spending, of $11,522 per capita, 5.4 percent higher than the U.S. average of $10,993. Per capita, the state ranked No. 15 in the nation. The total expenditure per $1,000 of personal income was $226.43, compared with the U.S. average of $217.80, ranking No. 20 in the nation. Rhode Island ranked No. 4 in the region per capita and No. 2 in the region per $1,000 of personal income. Massachusetts ranked No. 6 in the nation and No. 36 in the nation for total spend on a per capita and per $1,000 of personal income basis, respectively.

Chris Bergenheim is the PBN web editor. Email him at Bergenheim@PBN.com.