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Mattiello said he's proud of RI's budget, which includes car tax relief

Rhode Island’s budget came out of Finance Committee after midnight early Friday morning, with House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello saying he won’t let committee meetings go that long in the future. (WJAR)

Rhode Island’s budget came out of Finance Committee after midnight early Friday morning, with House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello saying he won’t let committee meetings go that long in the future.

He also vows that the floor debate on June 22 will end by 9 p.m.

“If I think we can finish by 10, I’ll go beyond nine,” Mattiello told NBC 10 News. “But I’m not going beyond 10, I don’t care.”

Matiello said it was a particularly tough budget, with a deficit of more than $130 million. But he said that his team was able to balance it without any broad-based tax increases.

“We didn’t fund any new jobs that weren’t critical,” he said. “We required that the government run more efficiently and that they save $25 million next year.”

With those and other savings, the budget includes a restoration of $11 million in cuts to nursing homes, $26 million to reduce car taxes, and $4.5 million to give free tuition at CCRI for two years, as well as support the other public colleges.

CommerceRI, the state’s economic development agency, didn’t get all the money that it asked for. However, Mattiello said that’s no criticism of its work.

“They’ve been doing a good job and you want to give them the tools,” Mattiello said. “Frankly, if we had the resources I’d want to give them more tools, so no reflection on the job they’re doing.”

Negotiations on the budget went late into Thursday afternoon, and included Senate President Dominick Ruggerio, as well as Gov. Gina Raimondo. Mattiello said he wants people to ignore rumors that his relationship with the governor is antagonistic.

“I think we work just fine together we had a great discussion and negotiation getting through the budget process,” he said. “And I think through our collaborative efforts, we have a real good budget for our citizens.”

The full House will begin debate on the budget June 22 around 2 p.m.

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