Some positives out of the budget bill that passed the R.I. House last week:
• Restoration, after much gnashing of teeth, of a $12.9 million payment into the state employee pension fund, a key part of the reform that promised to make it sustainable.
• Allocation of $2.5 million as the first payment to 38 Studios LLC bondholders, although a raspberry for authorizing $50,000 to study what would happen if the bonds were not paid off. The Rhode Island Public Expenditure Council has done that study already, and it’s likely that the money saved by not paying off the bonds would be far less than the added cost of borrowing the state would experience on all its debt going forward.
• Revival of the historic-preservation tax credit, although the limits placed on it are likely to limit its effectiveness. But it’s a start.
• An acceleration of depreciation for new equipment purchases to match the federal schedule.
• Creation of a program that would allow companies to train a person on unemployment compensation at no cost, with the hope that they would hire the trainees after the period is over. •