On Politics

Rhode Island Public Radio's political blog. Scott MacKay and Ian Donnis keep you up-to-date with the latest in political news from around Rhode Island.

Full archives of this blog can be found here.

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On Politics
5:03 pm
Mon August 26, 2013

Budget Office: RI Deficit Set to Grow to 410M in FY 2018

Rhode Island continues to face onerous budget deficits for the near future -- from $149.2 million for the fiscal year starting in July 2014 to $410 million in FY 2018, according to a new five-year analysis by the state Budget Office.

The cascade of red ink will place pressure on lawmakers to find fresh spending cuts, even as new casinos in Massachusetts are expected to cut into one of Rhode Island's top revenue sources -- gambling. The legal challenge to the 2011 overhaul of the state pension system poses another possible wild card.

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On Politics
4:03 pm
Mon August 26, 2013

RI Historic Preservation Tax Credit Lottery is tomorrow

The Rhode Island General Assembly and Gov. Lincoln Chafee approved legislation reinstating historic tax credits that are used as a spur to help finance restoration of historic buildings in the Ocean State. Tomorrow, the RI Division of Taxation will hold a lottery drawing for the reopened tax credit program.

The program has been generally closed since 2008, according to a statement from Neil Downing, the division’s chief revenue agent. But some projects were grandfathered in and have been proceeding. But about $34.5 million in credits available but unclaimed as of May 15, 2013.

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On Politics
4:20 pm
Fri August 23, 2013

TGIF: 11 Things to Know About Rhode Island Politics + Media

Summer is starting to slip from our grasp, sparking the trail to the hotter political season to come. Thanks for stopping by. As always, feel free to drop me a line at idonnis (at) ripr (dot) org and to follow my short missives on Twitter. Let's head in:

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On Politics
3:04 pm
Fri August 23, 2013

URI: University in RI or University of RI?

Even President Obama is talking about rising college tuitions as students return to campus. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay  talks about what this all means for our flagship public university, the University of Rhode Island.

The days are getting shorter, the breezes off our cobalt coastline are cooler. The rhythms of fall return. In our cozy corner of New England, a timeless harbinger of the season is students thronging college campuses.

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On Politics
4:41 pm
Thu August 22, 2013

Chafee Calls Sakonnet Toll Necessary To Avoid Debt + Deterioration

Credit Ian Donnis / RIPR

Governor Lincoln Chafee isn't backing away from the state's placement of tolls on the Sakonnet River Bridge, despite sharp opposition from residents and business owners in the East Bay.

Chafee says he understands the toll is unpopular and that many people are economically squeezed, but he calls the approach necessary.

"Unless there's a better way to maintain our bridges, which there hasn't been yet, I won't pass on future costs to our children and grandchildren," Chafee said Thursday during a taping of RIPR's Political Roundtable.

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On Politics
1:40 pm
Wed August 21, 2013

VP Biden Cancels Plan to Come to RI Because of Son's Condition

Vice President Joe Biden has canceled plans to headline a Newport fundraiser Thursday for the Democratic National Committee and to appear during a Salve Regina University event honoring Nuala Pell, the widow of the late senator Claiborne Pell.

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On Politics
10:56 am
Wed August 21, 2013

Elorza Moving Ahead With Providence Mayoral Run

Credit Ian Donnis / RIPR

Jorge Elorza, a professor at Roger Williams University Law School, is gearing up to run for mayor of Providence if Angel Taveras seeks another office.

"If Angel decides to run for governor, I will run for mayor," Elorza said Wednesday, in his first interview on the subject.

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On Politics
4:13 pm
Mon August 19, 2013

Former DOH spokeswoman Chadwick hired by HealthSourceRI

HealthSourceRI, the effort to implement Obamacare in Rhode Island, has hired former state Department of Health spokeswoman Dara Chadwick as its director of communications.

According to a statement, Chadwick "will serve as the primary media contact for HealthSourceRI and will play a key role in public outreach and education efforts around the newly-launched marketplace. She will also have a role in shaping policy for the new entity." HealthSourceRI plans to begin open enrollment on October 1.

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On Politics
2:30 pm
Mon August 19, 2013

Former Channel 12 reporter Raina Smith is new Mollis spokeswoman

Raina C. Smith, a former Channel 12-WPRI reporter, freelance writer and novelist, has been hired by  Democratic RI Secretary of State A. Ralph Mollis as his new director of communications. Smith replaces Chris Barnett, who left the secretary of state’s office to take a communications post with the Rhode Island Foundation.

Smith, 42, a North Scituate native who currently lives in Cranston, has her first day on the job today. She will be paid $92,669 annually. She is a 1997 graduate of Rhode Island College, where she majored in communications and graduated cum laude.

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On Politics
12:41 pm
Mon August 19, 2013

For Rhode Island, Is It Still "It's the Economy, Stupid?"

State Republican chairman Mark Smiley issued a news release Monday, taking to task Rhode Island's Democratic legislative leaders for the moribund condition of the local economy. Smiley's message -- if we can borrow a phrase from Bill Clinton's 1992 presidential run -- is: It's (still) the economy, stupid.

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