By Associated Press - Thursday, June 19, 2014

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - Gov. Lincoln Chafee has signed an $8.7 billion state budget for fiscal year 2015 that lowers the corporate tax, increases public education spending and honors the debt related to 38 Studios.

The Democratic governor signed the budget in a Statehouse ceremony Thursday afternoon.

House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello called it a bold budget that sets Rhode Island in a new direction and sends a message the state is “open for business.”

Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed said it invests in critical areas including education and infrastructure.

The spending plan lowers the corporate tax rate from 9 to 7 percent and raises the estate tax exemption to $1.5 million. It also creates a transportation infrastructure fund for road and bridge maintenance and includes $10 million to preserve a higher education tuition freeze.

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