Teresa Paiva Weed

RIPR FILE

Work is the fulcrum of social mobility in our country. In Rhode Island, lawmakers have approved an increase in the minimum wage. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay says that falls far short of what’s needed to help the working poor.

Democrats claim to be the party of working people. Come campaign season, Democratic candidates boast at every turn that they care about ``working families’’ more than Republicans, the party Democrats brand as the tool of the rich and the one-percent.

Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed joins Bonus Q+A this week to discuss the fallout from last week's legislative impasse, as well as a host of other issues, including charter schools, the PawSox, her political future, and much more.

Ian Donnis/File Photo / RIPR

Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed joins Political Roundtable this week to discuss how the legislative session ended with an impasse between the House and the Senate; whether the Senate will return for a special session; and the outlook for Governor Raimondo's truck-toll plan.

Welcome to July and a brief respite from politics. Happy Fourth of July to all my readers, and thanks for stopping by. Your tips and thoughts are always welcome, and you find follow me through the week on the twitters. A quick program note: I'm embarking on summer vacation, so TGIF will be on hiatus until July 24.

Never a dull moment around here, as the 2015 General Assembly session screeched to a dramatic close this week. Thanks for stopping by. As usual, your tips and thoughts are welcome at idonnis (at) ripr (dot) org, and you follow me through the week on the Twitters. Here we go.

RIPR FILE

Rhode Island’s General Assembly and Gov. Gina Raimondo have reached agreement on her first state budget. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay on what the new budget will do and what it lacks.

The $8.7 billion state budget for the financial year that begins three days before the Bristol 4th of July parade  seems greased for approval at the Statehouse. As is usually the case, this spending and taxing plan contains elements Rhode Islanders should cheer yet   fails to address some of our little state’s crying needs.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Standing under a decaying highway overpass in Olneyville, Governor Gina Raimondo on Wednesday unveiled a plan to improve Rhode Island's crumbling bridges by imposing a yet-to-be determined charge on large commercial trucks.

The plan calls for a $700 million bond issue, to be included as part of the budget for the next fiscal year, to jump-start transit-related construction work. To the delight of unionized workers in attendance, Raimondo characterized the initiative -- dubbed "Rhode Works" -- as a measure that will improve infrastructure while creating construction jobs.

The Rhode Island Senate has approved legislation that would tie some funding for public colleges and universities to their performance. Supporters say the aim is to increase timely graduation rates, and the number of students in high demand fields.

The new legislation would create a set a unique set of standards for the Community College of Rhode Island, Rhode Island College, and the University of Rhode Island, to reach those goals.  Supporters say the bill would shrink the skills gap, by getting students into the workforce quicker with the appropriate education.

I-195 Redevelopment Commission

There’s a new proposal to develop part of the former I-195 land. The project could bring in long sought-after jobs in the science and health sectors.

The proposal comes from Connecticut real estate developer, CV Properties, and Baltimore-based Wexford Science and Technology. Wexford is a real-estate developer specializing in the health sciences.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Governor Gina Raimondo said the increase of more than $140 million in state revenue identified during last Friday's revenue estimating conference should be used "to invest in economic growth and putting people to work." The governor also appears to have joined with House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello in supporting the elimination of the Taylor Swift tax.

RIPR file photo

  The Women’s Fund of Rhode Island is honoring RI Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed, D-Newport, with the organization’s Susan L. Farmer Award.

The award will honor Paiva Weed for her leadership role as the first female Senate president and for her support for the state’s Temporary Caregivers Insurance program, which was a top priority of the Women’s Fund of RI.

Paiva Weed became the first women to hold the post of Senate president in 2009. She is a lawyer and Providence College graduate.

RIPR

College professors are raising concerns about a plan to tie state funding for higher education with performance. The proposal calls for targets in areas like graduation rates and degrees in high demand fields. Schools would have to meet the targets to qualify for part of their state funding starting after 2016.

Community College of Rhode Island English Professor Anthony Amore says students and faculty need to play a role in setting the performance measures.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Legislative leaders Thursday praised the first budget presented by Governor Gina Raimondo. House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello said the spending plan avoids broad-based tax increases while promoting economic development.

“I think the overall balance is good, even though some of the decisions within that balance – whether they’re on the revenue side or the cut side – is something that none of us want to consider,” said Mattiello.

RIPR FILE

Gov. Gina Raimondo is scheduled to release her first state budget on Thursday. Part of the challenge is to slash a projected $190 million deficit.  So what will get cut? RIPR Political Analyst Scott MacKay tells us what to watch out for.

There is that ancient Statehouse cliché: If you want to figure out what a governor’s priorities are, check out the budget. Rhode Islanders get their first look at what our new governor, Gina Raimondo, values when she releases her spending and taxing plan for state government on Thursday.

John Bender / RIPR File

So is Rhode Island approaching a boon or a boondoggle?

Don’t get in line just yet for your luxury box seats at the new Providence ballpark that the new owners of the Pawtucket Red Sox want to build on the downtown Providence waterfront . The new owners and Mayor Jorge Elorza say any plan for a new  stadium is in infant stages.

While the move from Pawtucket’s iconic McCoy Stadium to a new site in Providence has drawn stellar initial reviews from the state’s political hierarchy and Elorza, the plans are a long, long fly ball from completion.

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