Ken Mendonça 2018 Update General Assembly

The 2019 General Assembly opened for business.

I was honored to be a member of the procession escorting the Senate members and the honorable Governor into the House Chamber to kick off the State of State Address.

As a member of the House Committee on Finance, we now are in the process of vetting the Governor’s budget articles.

The Governor’s FY19 Budget Highlights:

The proposed FY19 budget has a deficit of $180 Million(M).  Based on revenue projections for FY18, the state is running a $55M deficit. If the deficit remains for FY18, the FY19 budget will have to make up the difference bringing the total shortfall to $235M.

There are numerous fee increases for various professions, services and fines to increase revenue in the proposed budget.

The FY19 budget includes online sports gaming revenue of $23.5M based on a future US Supreme Court Decision.

There are proposed tax changes and increases on cigarettes, other tobacco products(e.g. e cigarettes, etc.), security services tax and a new tax on Software as a Service (SaaS).   SaaS is a direct tax on businesses.  If your organization uses webhosting services for timecards, payroll, email, office suite products, human resources and similar services the proposed tax should be of concern to you.   The House Finance Committee hearing regarding SaaS can be viewed here:

http://ritv.devosvideo.com/show?video=7756537c88e1&apg=52ab780b The specific Q&A portion regarding SaaS can be found at the 38:40 mark.

The budget includes various departments’ full time equivalent staff increases.

In general, there are a lot questions regarding revenue sources and projections to fund the nearly $9.4 Billion budget. There are a lot of numbers and moving targets, but the takeaway is that the budget is increasing and revenues are not close to meeting that growth. More to come.

Here are samples of the legislation I sponsored or cosponsored:

Biennial Budget Study Commission

The prohibition of credit agencies from imposing fees for credit freezes and thaws.

The creation of an Office of Inspector General – Note a press conference of the bipartisan can be viewed here:   http://ritv.devosvideo.com/show?video=3730e1e53069&apg=7e98c085

Requiring the Attorney General to provide results within 90 days of obtaining an Open Meetings Law complaint.

Re-enforcement of the powers of the Office of Child Advocate investigative powers.

Military survivor benefits personal income tax exemption.

Social Security Income tax exemption for widows and widowers that have not reached full retirement benefit age.

Veteran Small Business loan program.

Criminal procedure that closes the loophole that permits a defense of the use of violence against a person based on their gender or sexual orientation

The elimination of sales and use taxes on electricity and gas bills.

Prohibit credit card agencies from requiring subscribers from extending discounts to cash paying customers.

More legislation sponsored or cosponsored can be found by searching my name here: http://status.rilin.state.ri.us/

Other Activities:

Held a constituent forum at the Brown House.

Participated in the Portsmouth and Middletown legislative priorities sessions.

Attended the 1st Annual Portsmouth Firefighters’ awards ceremony.

Attended the ceremony of the Town of Middletown’s purchase of the old Navy Lodge Land.

Attended the Northeast Chapter of Military Officers Associated of America’s annual meeting with local legislators.

Endorsed State Traffic Commission safety and traffic control upgrades for East and West Main Roads.

Responded to several constituent’s request for support related to insurance, UHIP, road repairs, road safety, tax returns, short term rental, proposed tax assessment changes, budget and similar concerns.

Enjoyed being speaker for the day for civic minded aspiring legislators from PMS!

I want to say Thank You to my friends and supporters for attending my fundraiser and for contributing to my campaign.  I truly appreciate all your support!

If you would like to know more about these items or would like to contact me, please contact me at (401) 682-1967 or via email ken.mendonca@gmail.com

I’m honored to proudly serve you!

Kenneth J. Mendonça