Although it did not seem possible, the state of the Rhode Island economy and the state’s budget took a turn for the worse recently. Revised unemployment numbers revealed the state had never truly enjoyed unemployment rates under 9 percent in 2013 as had previously been reported and the current unemployment rate stands at 9.3 percent not 9.1 percent. Higher unemployment rates mean problems for the state budget.
Other state budget problems arose from other developments. The announced pension resolution (pending approval by union members, retirees, the judge in the case, and finally the General Assembly) would blow a $25 million hole in state and municipal budgets in the first year of implementation alone. And the recent decision by Massachusetts to license a slots parlor at Plainridge Park in nearby Plainville will cost the state an estimated minimum of $30 million in revenue annually with future Massachusetts casinos adding to the reduction in revenue to the state.