Once again, Rhode Island politics is ensnared in a public employee pension controversy. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay says it’s time to put this issue in our collective rear view mirror.
It’s well past time to get beyond the noisy debate over public employee pensions in Rhode Island. It’s a joust that has ensnared the Statehouse for more than a generation. It has long pitted the business community against public employees and their union leaders, fractured relations between conservatives and liberals and led to tortuous attempts for years to shore up the system.
A new coalition held a Statehouse news conference Thursday to press for an increase in the state’s $2.89 sub-minimum wage. Supporters call this a matter of fairness, since the sub-minimum wage hasn’t changed in 20 years. But the restaurant industry says higher wages would lead to higher food prices.
The full house has approved a bill allowing Twin River Casino to build a hotel on its property. Twin River wants the hotel to compete with proposed casinos in Massachusetts.
The restriction that keeps Twin River from building a hotel was originally put in place to protect Providence area hotels from losing business. But now Massachusetts plans to open three casinos and a slot parlor, threatening Twin River’s revenue. Twin River officials have unveiled a proposal to build a four story hotel on their Lincoln property.
Since about 2007, the percent of all hospitalizations of kids 18 and under for a mental health reason has nearly doubled. According to state public health data, there have been a steady number of total hospitalizations - about 20,000 - for kids statewide. In 2002, the percent admitted for a mental disorder was between six and eight percent for kids with private insurance or Medicaid, and quite low for uninsured kids. Today it's between 10 and 12 percent across the board.
Gov. Gina Raimondo joins RIPR Political Roundtable tomorrow for a discussion of her first budget and other topics. She talks about the Taylor Swift tax, the Medicaid cuts, the medical insurance tax, her economic development proposals, thePawSox move and more. Tune in tomorrow morning for Political Roundtable and Bonus Q &A with the governor and panelists Ian Donnis, Scott MacKay and Maureen Moakley. If you miss it, the entire interview with be posted at RIPR.org
Public employees in Rhode Island are scheduled to vote next week on a proposed deal to settle a lawsuit over Rhode Island’s pension overhaul. The settlement could save the state as much as $4 billion dollars in payments to retired state employees. It could also have benefits for union members. Rhode Island Public Radio political reporter Ian Donnis talks details with RIPR's Elisabeth Harrison.