Gina Raimondo

Providence Business News Editor Mark Murphy joins Rhode Island Public Radio's Dave Fallon for our weekly business segment The Bottom Line.

This week Mark and Dave sit down with Sylvia Maxfield, dean of the Providence College School of Business.

Maxfield says lawmakers' quick passage of the budget sends a message that Rhode Island is serious about turning around the economy. She also discusses what makes her believe this budget is "pro jobs" and "pro business."

When to listen:

You can hear The Bottom Line each Friday at 5:50pm.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Every Rhode Islander knows our state’s roads and bridges need repairs. Yet lawmakers closed up shop at the General Assembly without taking action on a plan to raise the money via truck tolls. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay on what the General Assembly needs to do to pay for the needed fixes.

Despite six collegial months, the General Assembly did not have a happy ending. The 2015 session crashed and amid the usual Smith Hill blame game. Several big issues were left without resolution, notably a plan to shore up the state’s aging bridges and roads.

Ian Donnis/File Photo / RIPR

State Senator Donna Nesselbush (D-Pawtucket) joins Political Roundtable this week to discuss how the House didn't vote for Governor Raimondo's truck-toll plan; the impact of new legislation on charter schools; and the Cranston bridge closing controversy.

The General Assembly ended its regular session Thursday night without approving Governor Gina Raimondo's plan to use tolls on trucks to pay for bridge improvements. The last night of the session was punctuated by a dispute that led senators to leave their chamber as the House was still meeting, and resulted in a series of bills slated for votes going by the wayside.

U.S. Supreme Court

Today’s Supreme Court ruling on the Affordable Care Act means tax credits are still available for people who buy health insurance on the federal exchange.

Rhode Island set up its own exchange, HealthSource RI. And because of that, the ruling would not have affected the Ocean State either way. Rhode Islanders who qualify for subsidies to help pay for health insurance will continue to receive them.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Governor Gina Raimondo continued to press Monday for the General Assembly to approve her plan to pay for bridge improvements through new tolls on trucks, although the person with the most impact on the outcome -- House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello -- said he remains undecided.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Rhode Island lawmakers are expected to wrap up the regular part of their 2015 session later this week. It remains unknown for now if legislators will return to hold a special session later this year.Governor Gina Raimondo is pressing lawmakers to back a plan to fund bridge improvements through new tolls on truck.

The state Trucking Association opposes the plan.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

The high cost of government in Rhode Island is once again in the forefront, as voters in Coventry dissolve the Coventry Fire District. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay asks if this can be a spur for consolidation in our tiny state.

In a referendum  Coventry voters resoundingly refused to give any more of their property taxes to the stanch the river of red ink drowning the Coventry Fire District. They  turned thumbs down on the fire district even though it provides fire and emergency services to the most densely populated part of the community..

Thanks for stopping by. The legislative year is almost over -- the traditional part, anyway -- but the political world always keeps spinning. I welcome your tips and thoughts at idonnis (at) ripr (dot) org, and you can follow me through the week on the twitters. Here we go.

By law, the Coastal Resources Management Council should have two hearing officers to oversee contested cases. But the agency has gone without a full-time hearing officer for more than 10 years.

  The state’s largest environmental advocacy group, Save The Bay, has called on Gov. Gina Raimondo to appoint at least one full-time hearing officer to the CRMC.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

The Rhode Island House broke from tradition Tuesday night by unanimously passing a budget for the next fiscal year during a speedy three-hour session. The spending plan cuts some business taxes while giving Governor Gina Raimondo much of what she wanted.

Budget debates in the House of Representatives traditionally go until the wee hours of the next day. So even veteran lawmakers were surprised when the chamber approved an $8.7 billion budget for the fiscal year starting July first faster than at any time in at least 30 years.

Governor Gina Raimondo has announced two businessmen to lead the State Council on Elementary and Secondary Education and the State Council on Post-Secondary Education. 

To chair the Council on Elementary and Secondary Education, which oversees public schools, Raimondo picked Daniel McConaghy, an executive vice president at Gilbane Building Company.

McConaghy also serves on the board of trustees for LaSalle Academy, a private, Catholic school that counts Raimondo among its lengthy list of prominent graduates.


House Republicans say the state can fix aging bridges without new tolls on trucks. The GOP has called for $60 million a year to be set aside from the state budget for up to 12 years.

West Warwick Representative Patricia Morgan says using money from the budget would be cheaper than Governor Gina Raimondo’s plan to toll trucks. Morgan said that’s because the state would not need to build toll-collecting devices known as gantries, or pay millions in interest for borrowing money to make improvements.

Ian Donnis/File Photo / RIPR

Although Governor Gina Raimondo highlighted a desire during her 2014 campaign to provide driver's licenses to undocumented Rhode Islanders, the General Assembly is not expected to move the issue forward in this session.

In the fall of 2013, Raimondo campaign expressed disappointment via Twitter when Democratic primary rival Angel Taveras said Congress should decide the issue of driver's licenses for undocumented drivers.

Thanks for stopping by. It's been a long week, so let's get rolling before I fall asleep at my standing desk. Your tips and thoughts remain welcome at idonnis (at) ripr (dot) org, and I invite your attention on the twitters. Here we go.