The 2016 Budget for Rhode Island in Historical Perspective


1. The first graph is the history of Rhode Island’s state budget growth since 1998, in dollar amounts spent at the time they were spent (or will be spent in the cases of FY2015 and FY2016), i.e. in terms of what economists refer to as “current dollars”. Fiscal year 2015 and 2016 figures are from the House of Representatives’ Fiscal Advisory staff budget briefing book; figures from years before that are from previous-year budget documents posted at the State of Rhode Island Budget Office website.


2. The next chart shows amounts spent from all sources, adjusted for inflation. The inflation adjustment is based on the Consumer Price Index data series compiled by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, available via the RI Department of Labor and Training website. For FY2015, so far, the official statistics indicate a period of deflation (about -0.7% from July 2014 to April 2015), which means that increases meant to keep pace with inflation in the FY15 budget will look like actual increases in the inflation-adjusted numbers over that period.


3. The next chart shows inflation-adjusted spending from the state’s general revenues. Since Rhode Island passed through “Carcieri’s notch” between FY2008 and FY2010, there’s been about $380M in new inflation-adjusted general revenue spending added to the budget (beginning in FY2011, the final Carcieri budget) — a factor worthy of consideration in any analysis about where money should come from to pay for basic infrastructure maintenance.


4. Finally, the last chart shows the inflation-adjusted, and continually fluctuating, state spending from Federal funds.


  • ShannonEntropy

    Veddy Interesting … but those graphs only tell half of the story

    Li’l Rhody is actually expecting a budget SURPLUS this year =►

    Or … are we ??

    From that same article =►

    The response from Raimondo spokeswoman Marie Aberger: “The Governor does not believe there is a “surplus” when we are facing a $190-million deficit in the coming fiscal year, which is why she has submitted an article in her budget to clarify the definition of surplus.

  • chucknevola

    I’d be very interested to see how RI compares with the states of New Hampshire and South Carolina – two states I am considering moving to because of their low per capita budget, and corresponding spending and taxing. I think if the state were challenged against “best of class” states in the various spending categories, we would have a shot at budget reform in RI.