- Associated Press - Wednesday, January 29, 2014

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - Lawmakers in Rhode Island are taking a look at Gov. Lincoln Chafee’s $8.5 billion state budget recommendation.

The House Finance Committee on Wednesday began its evaluation of the revenue-and-spending plan for the financial year beginning July 1.

Chafee’s proposal keeps current tax rates. It also increases funding for public schools by $38 million and higher education by $10 million.

The proposal suggests several big-ticket expenses that would require voter approval, including $125 million for a new University of Rhode Island engineering school and $35 million for upgrades to arts and cultural facilities.


It also includes a $12.5 million payment on the state’s debt for its $75 million investment in former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling’s now-bankrupt video game company, 38 Studios.

Lawmakers typically make significant changes before approving a budget.