The taxpayer-funded vehicle Senate President M. Teresa Paiva Weed has admitted to using for a ride home from a Democratic fundraiser is just a small part of the legislative branch’s eight-figure annual budget.
The legislature’s annual spending on its own behalf grew from $28.7 million in 2002-03 to $35.3 million in 2011-12, and its budget is set to rise again to $38.8 million this fiscal year, according to documents obtained from the R.I. Office of Management and Budget.
Where does all that money go? There are at least two ways to look at it.
One way is by type of spending. The vast majority of the legislature’s budget is spent on people – salaries, wages and benefits for personnel, which has grown from $22.4 million a decade ago to more than $30 million: