Rhode Island's budget deficit will stare at lawmakers as they reconvene in Providence on Tuesday.
The state faces a hole of roughly $60 million in the current fiscal year and more than $200 million for fiscal 2019, which begins July 1.
Gov. Gina Raimondo, a Democrat up for re-election, must submit a budget plan by Jan. 18.
This is Rhode Island's first current-year deficit projection since fiscal 2015, according to House of Representatives fiscal advisor Sharon Reynolds Ferland. She called the budget gap "potentially exacerbating."
"We do continue to have our structural budget problems," Ferland told the House finance committee in early December. "The current-year deficit is time sensitive."
Ferland cited annual spending that outpaces revenue and relatively weak growth in tax receipts.
She said some agencies have yet to submit budget requests,
Lawmakers will also debate school repair, the continued phaseout of the car tax and what level of aid, if any, to pay for a new Pawtucket Red Sox stadium.
A school infrastructure task force co-chaired by General Treasurer Seth Magaziner and Education Commissioner Ken Wagner recommended issuing $500 million of state general obligation bonds for public school construction and repair over 10 years, with the first bonds to go before to voters in November.
House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello, D-Cranston, has championed the car tax elimination. Last year's budget included the first leg of a six-year phaseout. While popular with voters, the next funding stage could get caught in the budget malestrom plus uncertainty over federal funding.
Pawtucket Mayor Donald Grebien has urged state legislators to consider letting the city backstop the stadium proposal as an alternative to state funding. He said no replacement for aging McCoy Stadium could trigger the ballclub's move to Worcester, Mass.
Moody's Investors Service rates Rhode Island's general obligation bonds Aa2. Fitch Ratings and S&P Global Ratings assign AA. All three provide stable outlooks.