What should be state lawmakers’ top budget priority this year?

STATE LAWMAKERS opened the 2024 legislative session on Jan. 2 with a projected $98 million surplus for the current fiscal year. PBN FILE PHOTO/CASSIUS SHUMAN

State lawmakers opened the 2024 legislative session on Jan. 2 with warnings any budget surplus at the end of the year will be much smaller than the past two years.

The state is projected to end this fiscal year with a $98 million surplus. Brian Daniels, director of the R.I. Office of Management and Budget, warned state departments that the end of federal pandemic aid and uncertain economic conditions this year will require “a conservative and cautious approach to budgeting.”

With that said, state lawmakers will sort through a host of competing spending priorities for the fiscal 2025 state budget.

Gov. Daniel J. McKee has said he expects to again propose lowering the state sales tax.

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Legislative leaders have promised to again prioritize affordable housing and support for small businesses, along with property tax relief.

What should be state lawmakers’ top budget priority this year?

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