Gov. Raimondo signs $8.67 billion state budget for fiscal 2016, with new job creation tools



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PROVIDENCE, Rhode Island — Gov. Gina Raimondo signed an $8.67 billion state budget on Tuesday that is intended to increase education spending for the state's youngest school children, trim the tax bill for many retirees and spur job growth.

House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello and Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed praised the collaborative effort to move the state forward.

"It's exactly what Rhode Island needs," Raimondo said. "From the start, the three of us agreed that the number one priority had to be jumpstarting this economy and creating jobs. We got it done. Not every state can say that."

The budget for the fiscal year that starts Wednesday includes Raimondo's new initiatives and tax credits to increase jobs and Mattiello's top priority of exempting Social Security from the state income tax for low- and middle-income retirees. It also includes funding for Paiva Weed's longstanding priority of offering full-day kindergarten in every community.

The budget eliminates the sales tax on energy for commercial users and lowers the annual minimum corporate tax. It also includes changes to the Medicaid system to lower costs, and a proposed settlement in the legal fight over Rhode Island's public pension system overhaul.

The legislative session ended abruptly last week with the fate of dozens of bills still undecided.

Mattiello wants to hold a special session in the fall to consider some outstanding items. Paiva Weed said she'll only ask senators to return then if there are judicial appointments.

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