Budget Primer

Section 1: Appropriation Process

According to Article IX Section 16 of the Rhode Island Constitution, and Rhode Island General Laws Section 35-3-7, the Governor must present spending recommendations to the General Assembly. The Budget reflects expenditures for both the current and upcoming fiscal year and identifies the sources of financing for those expenditures.

On or before the third Thursday in January, unless delayed by act of the General Assembly, the Governor must submit to the General Assembly a budget containing a complete plan of estimated revenues and proposed expenditures, with a personnel supplement detailing number and titles of positions of each agency, and estimates of personnel costs for the next fiscal year. Commencing with the Governor's FY 2013 budget, this supplementary personnel information has been merged into the multivolume document entitled Budget. The budget is proposed by the Governor and considered by the General Assembly, which may increase, decrease, alter, or strike out any item in the budget, provided that the action would not cause an excess of appropriations over anticipated revenue receipts. No appropriation in excess of budget recommendations may be made by the General Assembly unless it provides the necessary additional revenue to cover such appropriation.

The Governor may veto legislative appropriations, although not on an individual "line item" basis. The General Assembly may override any veto by a three-fifths majority vote. Supplemental appropriations measures must be submitted by the Governor to the General Assembly on or before the third Thursday in January. Supplemental appropriations by the General Assembly must also be supported by additional revenues.

The general laws of the state provide that if the General Assembly fails to pass the annual appropriation bill, amounts equal to those appropriated in the prior fiscal year shall be automatically available for expenditure, subject to monthly or quarterly allotments as determined by the Budget Officer. Expenditures for general obligation bond indebtedness of the state shall be made as required regardless of the passage of the annual budget or the amount provided for in the prior fiscal year.

NASBO.org

The National Association of State Budget Officers (NASBO)

Series 1: The State Budgeting Process

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