Fostering Innovation: Governor Raimondo’s FY 2016 Budget Recommendation

«We must reinvigorate Rhode Island and state government with fresh ideas and new ways of doing things, so that we can enhance accountability and get better results for our citizens.» – Governor Gina M. Raimondo

With the state facing structural deficits, Rhode Island must transform state and municipal government to be more innovative and responsive to the needs of taxpayers. The state needs to streamline the way it delivers services to its customers, maximizing the use of technology, shared services, and intergovernmental collaboration whenever possible.

Invest in Information Technology

• Invest in information technology to improve state operations, promote data-driven decision-making and enhance the transparency and accountability of government.

• Implement IT-related improvements, including:

o A new system to prevent and control waste, fraud, and abuse in the Medicaid payment process.

o A new system to streamline the third-party reporting process for services provided to individuals with developmental disabilities.

o Offsite data access and entry by designated Department of Children, Youth and Families staff.

Improve Efficiency in Government

• Modernize antiquated personnel rules for state employees, and achieve personnel savings for taxpayers.

• Improve business practices, purchasing and operations:

o The Office of Energy Resources (OER) will establish a competitive procurement program for the state’s electricity supply. OER expects that additional savings will be attained through energy efficiency initiatives.

o The Division of Purchases will review recent and current goods and services contracts.

o The Office of Management and Budget will support Lean process improvement projects.

o The Department of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities and Hospitals will participate in the Department of Corrections’ food purchasing and waste reduction efforts.

o The Department of Revenue will hire part-time employees to staff DMV locations at times of peak volumes to increase efficiency and reduce average wait times.

Reorganize State Government

• Reorganize several government functions to improve efficiency and encourage collaboration among programs with similar goals.

• Merge functions of the Rhode Island Higher Education Assistance Authority (RIHEAA) with the Office of Post-Secondary Commissioner; Move College Bound Fund to Treasury.

• Establish an Office of Advocacy within EOHHS charged with advocating for and protecting the rights of individuals.

• Consolidate 25 boards overseeing non-prescribing professionals.

Lay the Foundation to Reinvent Medicaid

• Implement reform so Medicaid delivers better care – without harming the most vulnerable among us – and so the system will be sustainable for taxpayers.

• Save $90M in Medicaid spending, with the guiding principles of improving quality, affordability, and efficiency; cracking down on fraud and abuse, and fostering innovation and transparency.

 

Attracting Entrepreneurs and Investment: Governor Raimondo’s FY 2016 Budget Recommendation

«We must create conditions that will jump start our struggling economy and create jobs.» -Governor Gina M. Raimondo

Cultivating a Favorable Business Environment

• To maintain stability and predictability in the state’s tax climate, the Governor’s budget includes no broad-based tax increases.

• Phase out the energy sales tax over five years, providing $4.9M in tax relief to businesses in FY 2016.

• Contain health care costs and promote job creation in the health care industry by phasing out the 2.0% surcharges on imaging and outpatient services over four years.

• Repeal more than 30 professional licenses identified by the Office of Regulatory Reform as burdensome, duplicative, or unnecessary.

Taking Action to Spur Jobs, Investment, and Innovation

• Job Creation Tax Initiative: Work with leaders in the General Assembly to structure a meaningful initiative to incentivize businesses to create new jobs in Rhode Island.

• Anchor Tax Credit: Incentivize our largest and most innovative employers-the anchors of our economy-to bring their suppliers and affiliates to Rhode Island.

• Real Estate Incentives: Encourage construction projects, with a focus on development near transit hubs and historic structures.

• Small Business Assistance Initiative: Leverage other funding sources to create a sustainable source of capital for Rhode Island small businesses.

• Innovation Voucher Program: Allow businesses to earn vouchers they can redeem for R&D assistance from colleges, universities, and other local institutions.

• First Wave Funds: Catalyze major real estate developments, in the I-195 District and statewide, that will bring large numbers of jobs and opportunities to Rhode Island.

• Worker Training: Invest in education and workforce development, because businesses need a pipeline of well-educated, well-trained workers.

Strengthening Government’s Partnership with Business

• Business One-Stop Service Shop: Shepherd businesses through state regulations and requirements, and connect them with state programs and services to help them grow.

• RI Commerce Corporation: Invest in new dedicated resources to develop stronger relationships with new and existing Rhode Island companies; reversing years of cuts & restoring agency funding to 2001 levels.

• Business Marketing Campaign: In partnership with chambers of commerce and local businesses, actively promote Rhode Island, bringing our state back to the table for investment and growth opportunities.

 

Building Skills: Governor Raimondo’s FY 2016 Budget Recommendation

«Helping students build the skills they need to succeed in a 21st century economy is one of the best investments we can make. It’s investing directly in people to give them a ladder of opportunity, and it’s also an economic driver for our state. My jobs budget will invest in each rung of the ladder – our schools, college affordability, and workforce training for adults.» – Governor Gina M. Raimondo

Early Education: Uncovering the Potential of our Youngest Learners • Focus on early education to help kids make gains in reading, math, and social skills, and bridge the achievement gap for low-income students. • Fund full implementation of all-day kindergarten across Rhode Island by the 2016 school year. • Support expanding the number of state-sponsored Pre-K classrooms in RI from 17 to 60 by 2019. • Make record investments in K-12 – $35.5M increase over last year.

Prepare RI: Helping RI High School Students Prepare for College or a Career after High School • Invest in dual enrollment – if a student wants to go to college, or start a career right after high school, Prepare RI will make getting a degree or an industry certification more affordable & attainable. • Rethink how a student’s high school experience ends by empowering every qualifying high school student across the state to take postsecondary courses while in high school at no cost to the student. This will reduce the amount of time and expense for students to obtain a college degree or earn an industry certification and start a career.

Last Dollar Scholarships to Support Low-Income Students in Rhode Island • Restructure existing higher education grant programs and create a last-dollar scholarship program to fill unmet need for Rhode Island students to attend college. • In its first year, the program will invest $10 million of state funds in students with proven academic performance but for whom higher education might otherwise be unattainable. This opportunity was created by eliminating a redundant state agency.

College Loan Forgiveness Program • Institute a competitive Wave Maker program to keep young talent in RI and attract the best and brightest to the state. This initiative will pay for up to four years’ worth of student loan debt for approximately 100 recent graduates pursuing careers in technology, engineering, design, and other key sectors.

Education/Employers Partnerships and an Effective Job-Pairing Strategy • Rhode Island’s current workforce organization is slow to respond to business needs, money and effort is spread thin, and there is a shortage of skilled workers. • Increase coordination among high schools, community colleges, and businesses and forge clear pathways to good careers in key sectors. Qualified high school students can pursue a five- or six-year path to a high school diploma, an associate’s degree, and ultimately a job. • Align job training with businesses’ needs so we train people for jobs that exist.

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