Governor Daniel McKee Gives State of the State
Governor Daniel McKee of Rhode Island gave his state of the state address, outlining the key points of his spending budget for 2022. The areas he focused on the most were economy, housing and families, education, and climate.
McKee’s first area of focus was the state’s economy. He began by announcing the proposal of 100 new infrastructure projects valued at $2.1 billion, which would go towards fixing roads, bridges, and bike paths. He also said that these efforts would create many good-paying jobs for the people of Rhode Island. Beyond that, he hoped to give $40 million to the Rhode Island Real Jobs program, which had already worked to give thousands of residents new jobs. His goal is to continue that progress with this investment.
The other major area of focus within the economy discussion surrounded supporting small businesses. McKee announced several proposals to help make a life for small business owners a little bit easier. First, he wants to allow the state’s cities and towns to exempt a portion of their business property from the tangible tax. He also wants to lower the corporate minimum tax, which he says impacts small businesses the most. He also hoped to add a position within the Rhode Island Division of Taxation that would help to walk individuals or small businesses through the taxation process. Another proposal was made to allow restaurants and brewpubs to sell alcohol with takeout orders, thereby increasing their business in that area. Finally, McKee proposed a 10 million dollar investment to help support and increase minority business owners.
Housing and Families
Another key area for the Governor was helping to increase living conditions for families throughout the state. First, he proposed a 250 million-dollar investment to transform housing throughout the state. This would include preserving and rebuilding old housing units and creating many new ones. This, he says, would also create many good construction jobs for the state’s residents. Beyond this transformation, he wants to make housing more affordable and attainable for Rhode Island families. To do this, he proposed a 50 million-dollar investment match would be usedto give down payment assistance on housing for families that need it the most.
Governor McKee also focused on the healthcare side of family assistance and protection. First, he expressed his hope that they can extend Medicaid protection to all children throughout the state. Beyond that, he proposed an extension of Medicaid protection that mothers receive right after birth. He wanted to extend this period from 60 days to 12 months. Finally, he proposed an increase in the income threshold on the state’s Child Care Assistance Program to allow more families to access its benefits.
Governor McKee focused on several different areas of education, with the first being the continuation of state funding for school districts. In this area, he proposed an increase in the state aid given to school districts throughout Rhode Island. He also made a promise that schools would not see cuts in state funding this year even if their student enrollment decreased. He also announced the continuation of a 250 million-dollar commitment to school construction throughout the state. Along with this, he announced an investment of $50 million to help with smaller projects like upgrading heating and cooling systems and safety equipment. Overall, the Governor’s budget includes $430 million in school construction spending from kindergarten to higher learning facilities. On the topic of higher learning, he proposed the starting of the state’s first higher education academy to help residents get the skills and credentials they need to receive a degree and a good-paying job. Finally, McKee called on the legislature to approve an increase in funding fin student loan forgiveness, with a special focus on the state’s healthcare workers.
McKee’s last area of focus was on climate change and protecting the environment. First, he expressed his wish for the building of the nation’s premier Smart Bay, which he says could make Rhode Island a world-leading center for research into ocean technologies. Along with this, he wants to invest in wet lab space, which he says is essential and is something that the life science community has been asking for. He also proposed an increase in port capacity to help better the offshore wind supply chain. Furthermore, he wants to invest in improving aquaculture to help with things such as seafood processing. This would allow a lot more of that processing to happen in-state, rather than having to ship it somewhere else to get it ready for sale. Finally, McKee spoke of the work being done to create a network of electric car charging stations throughout Rhode Island and hopes to convert the entire fleet of public transport electric.
The position of Governor is up for election in Rhode Island this year, and Daniel McKee is running for his first full term in office. Rhode Island residents will be able to go to the polls and vote in the primaries on September 13, with polls opening from 7 AM to 8 PM.