Questions And Answers Related to Rhode Island State

  • Identify the congressional committees to which the member of Congress representing your district has been assigned. Try to determine why those committees are interesting to him or her. Thinking about economic interests and major employers is a good start.

Answer: The member of Congress representing the first district of Rhode Island is Mr. David Cicilline. He is currently serving, in the 115th congress, as the Ranking Member on the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Regulatory Reform, Commercial and Antitrust Law. His primary interest in these congressional subcommittees include increasing health care opportunities for Rhode Islanders, providing a sound legislative support for the consumers and workers, and most importantly, providing the Rhode Islander with easy access to high-speed broadband internet through strong net neutrality rules.

  • Identify these key elements of your state budget process (your state’s budget office website will be a good resource here):

  • Does your state have an annual or a biennial budget? Does it appear to have a separate budget for acquisition of capital assets (buildings, roads, bridges, etc.)?

Answer: The state of Rhode Island has an annual budget. The Rhode Island Capital Fund could be used capital assets prior to 2007 amendment to the state constitution. The amendment restricted the use of excess fund solely for the acquisition of capital assets.

  • What units direct the preparation of the executive budget?

Answer: The Budget Office of Rhode Island State, headed by State Budget Officer Mr. Thomas A. Mullaney directs the preparation of the executive budget.

  • What item veto power, if any, does the governor have?

Answer: The governor of the Rhode Island State has no veto power regarding the Budget of the State.

  • Is the budget process described on a state website? Does the website have the budget instruction issued to state agencies?

The detailed budget process and instructions to the state agencies are clearly described in the state authorized website “Office of Management and Budget”. The URL of the website is http://www.omb.ri.gov/.

  • Describe the budget process of your state. Specifically, please answer:

  1. How is the budget developed?

The development of a budget is a long process. Instructions and recommendations are sent to the state agencies by the budget during spring and early summer each year. The agencies submit their budget proposals before September 15 of the year. The budget committee then reviews the agency submissions. They prepare an analysis of the agency requests, adding and removing where necessary, and submit their recommendations to the governor. The governor’s office determines the recommendations, upon the basis of which the State’s Budget Office develops the budget.

  • Which legislative committees are involved in the budget deliberations?

Several legislative offices are involved in the budget deliberation process. It includes the Office of State’s Governor, The House Finance Committee and its subcommittees, The Senate Finance Committee and its subcommittees, the House and the Senate.

  • Who adopts the budget?

Once the Governor of the State introduces the budget to the House, it is first reviewed by the House Finance Committee and the Senate Finance Committee. The Subcommittees are appointed by the both the committees to carefully review the budget. The subcommittees make recommendations to the full committees. In order to reflect the recommendations of the committees, the appropriation bills are reprinted. It is then presented to the full House first, and then to the Senate. Once the bill is approved by the Senate, it becomes a law.

  • Based on your findings, what do you conclude about the fiscal situation, processes, and procedures of your state?

After a thorough study about the economic procedures of Rhode Island, it can be concluded that the State-run a very sophisticated fiscal system. With its descriptive and well-organized website, smooth procedures of budget management and good governance, it is one of America’s most organized bodies of State economy.

  • Does your state provide for performance measures in its budget document? If yes, choose one department’s performance measures and evaluate how valid they are. If you were to develop a performance measure for this department, what measures would you use? If no performance measures are provided in your state’s budget, develop 3 performance measures for a state department of your choice and explain why you choose them.

Performance management is an important feature in the Budget of Rhode Island State. Different measures are used to determine the performance of various agencies of the State. Contaminated Site Cleanup, for example, is an important measure which was used to check the performance of the Department of Environmental Management in the State. In the year 2013, an area of 373 acres has been cleaned up under the measure. The figure was 96.1 acres in the following year. This measure keeps any kinds of distortions to the environment of the Rhode Island in constant check successfully. The usefulness and validity of this measure and many other measures like this taken by the RI authorities is beyond any doubt.

If I were to prepare a measure specifically for this department, an inspection of contaminated sites would be a major choice. Besides, some other measures that I might have used include a survey of utilization of natural resources in the state and an inspection to the ecological stability of the State’s environment.

  • Patterns and structure of revenue for state and local government are important policy concerns because they establish the distribution of the burden of public service Revenue revision can begin only with a clear understanding of where revenue policy leaves the state and its localities now and what available options have not been selected.

  • How does the burden of state, local, and state-local taxation in your state compare with that of the nation and region?

The tax burden of the Rhode Island State often ranks among the leading States of the nation. The Rhode Island State ranked 13th in the Fiscal year 2014 in the whole nation with average revenue of $107.66 per $1,000 of personal income. While individual income tax collection of $21.48 per $1,000 was less in comparison to the national average of $23.05 per $1,000, the property tax collections of $48.04 per $1,000 of personal income in the State of Rhode Island exceeded the national average of $31.51 by 52.5 percent. Rhode Island’s per capita income of $5,180 ranked 14th in the whole United States of America in the Fiscal year 2014.

  1. What are the five major revenue sources for your state? How does that compare to the nation? Please provide for absolute numbers and as a percent of total.

Healthcare service is the leading industry of the Rhode Island State in terms of state revenue. A large portion of the revenue of the State comes from the sales of tobacco products, covering more than 4% of the total revenue. Tourism and manufacturing hold consecutively the third and fourth position as the sources of state revenues, with tourism supporting approximately 39,000 jobs throughout the state. The State’s total income in the fiscal year 2016 was $1,215,368 million from individual income tax, while the national income from the same source was $336,172,978 million.

  1. What are the five major expenditure sources for your state? How does that compare to the nation? Please provide for absolute numbers and as a percent of total.

Elementary and secondary education sector covers the largest portion of State expenditure in Rhode Island. 30% of total expenditure is used for this sector. The second largest portion of 29% revenue goes to Medicaid. The other sectors include Higher Education with 6%, Correction with 6% and Public Assistance sector with 1% of the total expense. All other sectors collectively cover the remaining 30% of the State expenditure.

  1. Identify the important elements of the income tax in your state. Does your state levy individual and corporate income taxes? What are the rates for each? Were their recent changes to the income tax in your state? Can residents file online?

The Rhode Island State’s individual income tax rate, both for single and married individuals, is 5.99% of the income, while the rate is 7.00% for corporate taxes. There are some recent changes in the income tax regulation of the State. The unemployment insurance tax has recently been reduced. Previously, the range of insurance was at least 1.69% to the highest 9.79% which, under the new regulation, is expected to range from 0.99% to 9.59%. Both annual corporate minimum tax and annual filing charge has been reduced to 11.11 percent. The minimum amount in both of these sectors was $500 previously, which has been reduced to $450 in the new regulation. The residents can file the taxes online.

  1. How does the sales tax structure in your state compare to the nation? Look at the rate and the exemptions that are provided in your state. What is the yield in the most recent fiscal year?

The sales tax rate of Rhode Island State is 7% for all kinds of products. The State has joined a nation-wide coalition of 40 States by conforming to the regulation of Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Agreement. The total yield of the fiscal year 2016 from general sales taxation is $959,513 million.

  1. Identify these elements of the property tax for a city or town in your state: Who assesses property? What valuation standard is used? When was the latest reassessment of real property in your state done? Is personal property taxed?

The property taxes are administered completely by the local authorities. Different cities and towns determine the rates of their own properties independent of State authority. However, there are some common regulations provided by the State that all the local authorities must follow while assessing the property and determining the taxation. As the market value of property changes by the time, the cities are required to reevaluate the market value of properties every nine years. Therefore, contemporary market value is the main valuation standard. Though some cities offer a low rate for owner-occupied properties, there is actually no state-wide exemptions.

  1. Who does revenue forecasts for your state budget? Is it an executive branch or a legislative branch agency or a consensus process? Are the estimates easily available on a state website? 

The Budget Office Staffs, headed by State Budget Officer Mr. Thomas A. Mullaney, are responsible for the revenue forecast for Rhode Island’s Budget.   It is an executive branch under the Rhode Island government. The estimates and reports are easily accessible in the state authorized website named Office of Management and Budget.

  • Find the most recent credit rating for your state and a local entity from one of the major rating agencies (Moody’s, Standard & Poor’s, Fitch) and answer the following questions:

  • What is the rating? Has it changed recently?

The latest rating provided by Moody’s is Aa3 which is stable.

  • What are some of the positive criterions mentioned by that rating agency?

The positive criteria include the financing of 38 Studios Video Game Fiasco by the State. Strong performance in budget administration, payment of $12 installments and the planned decrease of some tax rates in recent time is also included as a good sign for the state’s fiscal administration.

  • What are some of the negative criterions?

The environmental impact of Rhode Island’s rail improvement project negatively affected the ratings of the State’s fiscal administration. High rate of overall taxation has been a general negative criterion for the State of Rhode Island.

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