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.