PROVIDENCE, R.I. — State tax revenue in Rhode Island will be nearly $100 million less than what was projected in the fall, complicating negotiations between state leaders as they prepare a new budget, fiscal analysts said Wednesday.
The Revenue Estimating Conference reached a consensus on the revenue estimates after a public meeting lasting about 10 hours. It estimated tax revenues to be $3.66 billion for fiscal year 2017 and $3.57 billion for fiscal year 2018.
The lagging revenues call into question Democratic House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello’s plan to eliminate car taxes and Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo’s proposal to provide two years of free college tuition.
Mattiello said he is frustrated that many of the problems come from the Raimondo administration’s unachieved budget savings rather than lower growth.
But a spokesman for the governor said Wednesday night that she is prepared to “roll up her sleeves and work” with the General Assembly to pass a balanced budget.
“Across the nation, President Trump’s policies have created a lot of uncertainty for businesses and state fiscal officers,” said spokesman Michael Raia. “At least two-thirds of states, including our neighbors in Massachusetts and Connecticut, have seen revenues fall short of projections as individuals and businesses look to Washington for a signal of what’s to come.”
The state budget officer and legislative fiscal advisers hold the number-crunching conference twice each year. The projections will be the official numbers used to write the budget for the 2018 fiscal year that begins July 1.
The official $3.57 billion revenue estimate for fiscal year 2018 doesn’t account for hospital fees, which, once added, are expected to raise the actual revenue amount to $3.74 billion.
Wednesday’s new projections are $99.6 million lower than the last forecast in November — a $60.1 million decrease for the 2017 fiscal year and a $39.5 million decrease for the 2018 fiscal year.