Ruggerio: ‘In hindsight, if I had to do it differently I probably would’
Rhode Island Senate President Dominick Ruggerio made an amendment that caused House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello to send home his members and delay the passage of a budget by one month.
“Obviously, I didn’t think the trigger would create this much of a difficult situation for both chambers,” Ruggerio told NBC 10 News on Tuesday. “In hindsight, if I had to do it differently I probably would.”
When asked if it was a lesson he could chalk up to experience, he answered, “or lack thereof.”
But Ruggerio still says his amendment, which requires a fiscal review to continue the car tax phase out and will cost the state $220 million in the final year, is based on policy.
Yet, it also appeared to be an effort to make the Senate more relevant to the budget process.
“We are a co-equal branch of government…we have to vote on the budget,” Ruggerio said. “If the house can put 12 floor amendments on, I don’t see why the Senate can’t.”
The agreement to have the Senate pass the original budget it received from the House includes a promise that the House will consider a bill that does the same thing the Ruggerio’s amendment called for.
The Senate will rescind the amendment they added June 30 and send the intact budget to Gov. Gina Raimondo, who promises to sign it immediately, allowing the state to get back to its planned budget.
It will also craft the bill calling for a review of the state’s finances in 2021, to see if it can afford to keep making up the cost of eliminating the car tax
On Sept. 19, the entire General Assembly will return. Mattiello has promised to take up the fiscal review bill.
It has not yet determined what other unfinished legislative issues will be brought up. The possibilities include the judicial reinvention, which is a package of mental health bills, as well as others, such as a bill to take guns from domestic abusers, and a bill requiring employers to give sick days to workers.