By Kimberley Donoghue
PBN Web Editor
PROVIDENCE – Despite recent economic woes, the Rhode Island state budget reported a surplus of $17.7 million in its general fund, according to the preliminary fiscal year figures posted by Controller Marc Leonetti on Wednesday.
The Ocean State began the year with a $62.9 million budget deficit and managed to swing into the black through cost controls and “sound fiscal policies”, said Governor Donald L. Carcieri.
Revenues, however, came in less than estimated at $3.4 million; the Department of Human Services, which provides health care to people with low incomes, saw a $10.4 million cut in its allotment.
“This is very good news. Even in the midst of an economic recession, we have brought the previous fiscal year in under budget,” said Carcieri in a statement.
“We are positioning the state to be able to absorb the $320 million projected deficit in 2012 related to the end of the federal stimulus program,” he added.
General revenue expenditures came in $24.4 million less than budgeted in the fiscal year 2010, the Governor’s office reported, noting that the state’s “Rainy Day” allotment was “fully-funded” at $112 million.
“The state was up against tremendous fiscal challenges, and with the cooperation of the General Assembly, state agencies and state employees, we have brought spending in line with available resources,” said Rosemary Booth Gallogly, Director for the Department of Administration and Acting Director for the Department of Revenue.
State agencies saw cost savings from unfilled job vacancies, building maintenance savings and lower utility costs, the Governor’s office said. Health and human service agencies benefitted from lower Medicaid costs, pharmaceutical savings, and federal reimbursements for H1N1 costs.
The budget report is considered preliminary until the Office of the Auditor General issues its year-end audit report.