Chart: General Assembly added $10M to its budget since 2003

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:

Another way is by line item. This shows about half the budget goes to the speaker-controlled Joint Committee on Legislative Services, with lawmakers themselves (the General Assembly) getting about $6 million:

• Related: Target 12: ‘Taxpayer taxi’ took Paiva Weed home from Dem gala (Nov. 13)

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Rhode Island (change)

Gov. Lincoln Chafee, the first independent in his position, has his work cut out for him: fix the state's finances and help 66,000 unemployed Rhode Islanders get back to work.
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