On July 10th the Program Budget and Finance Committee (PB&F) presented their recommended budget for the Triennium 2013-2015. Yesterday each house debated that budget. The House of Deputies started by suspending the rules for one hour so that the discussion could be free of motions to amend, divide, and call the question.
The first step was for small groups of sixteen to discuss the budget together, in our case we were paired with the deputies from
Next the entire body was able to make comments and ask questions. Various members of PB&F answered those questions. Some people asked about the recommendation to fund the Anglican Council at 50% of the amount requested, others asked about the reduction in the budget for Committees, Commissions, Agencies and Boards, the amount appropriated for legal costs to defend property rights, and how Block Grants in the program area would work.
Then the house went back into normal session and various motions were made. One deputy proposed to reduce the amount allocated for staff costs by 25%. That motion was defeated by a substantial majority. Another motion proposed to add $500,000 to Miscellaneous Income and to appropriate those funds for the work of the Digital Communications Department. This motion failed as well.
Someone called the question and the budget passed as originally proposed. We subsequently learned that the House of Bishops concurred by passing the budget as well.
What this means for the Rhode Island Diocese is that our share of the expenses of The Episcopal Church for the next three years will be approximately the same as this year ($400,000). We should be proud that we have a long track record of paying the amount requested.
During the next Triennium a special committee appointed by the Presiding Bishop and President of the House of Deputies will be studying the matter of structure and making a recommendation to the 2015 General Convention about possible changes in the amount of funding requested and how those funds are expended.
Also this week, a nominating committee for the next Presiding Bishop was elected, including Dante Tavealaro from