Ian Donnis

Political Reporter

Ian Donnis has been the political reporter for Rhode Island Public Radio since 2009. The Washington Post has repeatedly named him as one of Rhode Island’s best political reporters. In addition to other tasks, Ian tweets frequently at @IanDon, hosts RIPR’s weekly Political Roundtable, and contributes to the station’s On Politics blog. He was for many years a regular panelist on WPRI/WNAC-TV’s Newsmakers, and remains an occasional guest on RI-PBS' A Lively Experiment. Ian previously worked for the Providence Phoenix, the Worcester Telegram & Gazette, and The Associated Press. His reporting has been recognized by the Associated Press, the New England Press Association, the Rhode Island Press Association, and Rhode Island for Community & Justice.

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On Politics
12:00 pm
Wed December 12, 2012

Surplus shrinks FY2014 deficit to $70M; long-term spending still a problem

A pre-session House Finance Committee meeting this afternoon offered a mix of good news and bad news: a larger than expected current-year surplus of about $47 million will roughly cut in half the deficit for the budget year starting next July 1, from $130 million to $70 million.

But the state’s structural deficit could grow to about $400 million in five years, due in part to overspending in some state departments. In an interview following the meeting, House Finance chairman Helio Melo said the state needs to be more disciplined:

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On Politics
12:34 pm
Tue December 11, 2012

It’s orientation day at the General Assembly

The General Assembly taking up business on New Year’s Day will be more Democratic than the last one, with just 11 Republicans (down from 18) among the 113 state reps and state senators. Lawmakers will once again take their seats as the state wrestles with high unemployment and long-term deficits. One of the key questions for the new session is whether legislative leaders will push meaningful economic-development efforts in the aftermath of the meltdown of 38 Studios earlier this year.

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On Politics
12:00 pm
Tue December 11, 2012

Diossa’s win highlights Colombian-Americans’ emergence in Rhode Island’s political scene

James Diossa’s victory in the Central Falls’ mayoral race is part of a broader emergence of Colombian-Americans in Rhode Island’s political scene.

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On Politics
12:45 pm
Mon December 10, 2012

Firefighters target Raimondo as architect of pension changes

As state Treasurer Gina Raimondo gets set to hold a football-themed fundraiser at Rick’s Roadhouse this evening, here’s a copy of the rally-the-troops email sent out by the Rhode Island State Association of Firefighters:

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On Politics
11:30 am
Mon December 10, 2012

Xay’s back in the RI orbit; takes VP job at Webster Bank

Xaykham “Xay” Khamsyvoravong, who managed Frank Caprio’s 2010 gubernatorial campaign and then left Rhode Island to pursue other opportunities, has a new gig: vice president for government and institutional banking at Providence-based Webster Bank.

Via news release:

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On Politics
10:48 am
Sun December 9, 2012

Raimondo looks to broaden her base heading into 2013

Why would a freshly minted political star who has already banked more than $1 million in campaign fundraising stage a $25-per-person (suggested) football-watch event at a barbecue-burger joint in Providence’s Jewelry District on a Monday night in December?

If you’re state Treasurer Gina Raimondo, the answer probably has to do with expanding her base of support in the run-up to the 2014 gubernatorial race.

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on politics
12:45 pm
Fri December 7, 2012

Rhode Island’s pension fund earned just 1.4 pecent in fiscal 2012

Rhode Island’s $7 billion+ pension fund — which is banking on an expected rate of return of 7.5 percent to pay its long-term obligations — earned just 1.4 percent over the fiscal year that ended June 30.

State Treasurer Gina Raimondo, who chairs the state Investment Commission and sparked the move last year to lower the pension fund’s expected rate of return, says she doesn’t think the state’s expected 7.5 percent rate of return is too optimistic. In an interview, she said:

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On Politics
12:45 pm
Fri December 7, 2012

Rhode Island’s pension fund earned just 1.4 pecent in fiscal 2012

Rhode Island’s $7 billion+ pension fund — which is banking on an expected rate of return of 7.5 percent to pay its long-term obligations — earned just 1.4 percent over the fiscal year that ended June 30.

State Treasurer Gina Raimondo, who chairs the state Investment Commission and sparked the move last year to lower the pension fund’s expected rate of return, says she doesn’t think the state’s expected 7.5 percent rate of return is too optimistic. In an interview, she said:

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On Politics
10:45 am
Thu December 6, 2012

RI Supreme Court decides not to delay pension case or rule on Taft-Carter

The Rhode Island Supreme Court has declined a state motion to stay the big pension case pending before Superior Court Judge Sarah Taft-Carter. Via news release:

In the matter of Rhode Island Public Employees’ Retiree Coalition et al v. Lincoln Chafee et al, the Supreme Court today declined to intervene in the union and coalition lawsuits against the state regarding the Rhode Island Retirement Security Act of 2011.

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On Politics
12:00 pm
Wed December 5, 2012

Fox sides with Raimondo; Chafee says settlement talks in taxpayers’ interest

In sharp contrast to Governor Lincoln Chafee, House Speaker Gordon Fox is siding with state Treasurer Gina Raimondo’s argument that the time for negotiating last year’s pension overhaul is over.

Fox’s stance is pivotal; without his support, changes to the pension overhaul are a non-starter in the General Assembly.

Fox offered this statement to RIPR:

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