Gov. Donald L. Carcieri unveiled a plan to shutter state government for 12 days and trim funding for local governments to balance the budget.
The shutdown will force 81% of the roughly 13,550-member workforce, excluding the college system, to stay home a dozen days without pay before the new fiscal year begins next summer.
The closures come as the worst recession in decades has eliminated hundreds of millions of dollars in tax collections and pushed unemployment to 12.7%, the second-highest jobless rate in the nation behind Michigan.
The Republican governor imposed the shutdown in an executive order but said he's willing to negotiate a different deal with state employee unions so long as it saves the same amount of money, roughly $22 million.