Providence, R.I. – The House budget reduces the state's car-tax exemption from $6,000 to the first $500 of a car's value. The budget also gives cities and towns the ability to tax the cars of their residents after that initial $500 in value. Rep. Roberto DaSilva of East Providence says it's unfair to target cars worth a few thousand dollars when there's no similar tax on yachts.
Providence, R.I. – This week - we consider the political fall-out of the oil spill, a new poll in the Governor's race, and who pays the price for the state's budget squeeze. Here's WRNI's Anthony Brooks filling in for Ian Donnils.
Providence, R.I. – The state Board of Education has voted to reconsider the future of the Highlander Charter School after an emotional meeting last night. The Providence elementary and middle school faces a two-year probationary period due to concerns about test scores. But testimony from dozens of parents, teachers and students convinced the board to postpone the decision.
Providence, R.I. – U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood was in Providence yesterday. He didn't come bearing gifts but he left a little hope.
After touring the city by trolley, LaHood said there is a good chance the federal government will fund Transit 2020 - the capital city's ambitious plan to get people out of their cars and onto mass transit.
Providence, R.I. – Rhode Island has the second lowest rate of gun deaths in the country. That word from the Violence Policy Center of Washington.
Of the 50 states, only Hawaii has fewer gun deaths per 100,000 residents than Rhode Island. The Violence Policy Center used 2007 crime data to draw its conclusions. The Center's legislative director, Kristen Rand, says the Ocean State has two thirds fewer gun deaths than the national average because so few Rhode Islanders own guns.
Providence, R.I. – The House of Representatives is scheduled to vote this afternoon on an almost $8 billion dollar budget.
The budget closes a $570 dollar deficit for the current and next fiscal years. One of the most controversial elements is the withholding from cities and towns of $133 million in car tax revenue for fiscal 2011. And House spokesman Larry Berman says lawmakers continue to rely on $100 million in federal money that has yet to be allocated.
Providence, R.I. – Congressman James Langevin has a big fundraising advantage as he begins his reelection campaign.
Langevin has outraised his Democratic and Republican rivals by a better than three-to-one margin. Langevin's most recent filing with the federal election commission shows a campaign balance of almost $420,000. His next closest competitor, fellow Democrat Betsy Dennigan, reported a $138,000 balance.
Providence, R.I. – A federal judge says a former Rhode Island lawmaker who pleaded guilty to corruption charges must remain behind bars.
Former House Majority Leader Gerard Martineau had asked U.S. District Judge Mary Lisi to shorten his sentence.
Martineau cited a state Supreme Court opinion last year that said state lawmakers can't be prosecuted for improper votes. But Lisi ruled that the state court decision had no bearing on his federal case.