With the General Assembly set to start its new session Tuesday, House Speaker Gordon Fox sat down to discuss the issues facing the legislature, including the latest budget deficit; fallout from 38 Studios; the possible impact of a settlement over the 2011 overhaul of the state pension system; tolls on the Sakonnet River Bridge; and more.
House Minority Leader Brian Newberry (R-Smithfield) joins Bonus Q+A to discuss the upcoming General Assembly session and a variety of other issues, including economic development, the master lever, 38 Studios, the race for governor and more.
The state Ethics Commission on Tuesday decided to investigate a complaint filed against House Speaker Gordon Fox. The question is whether Fox needed to disclose legal work done for the City of Providence.
Jason Gramitt, a staff attorney for the Ethics Commission, calls the step taken by the commission "preliminary. The commission only looks at the complaint and decides whether or not it should authorize an investigation, and so that's all they've done. They didn't offer any opinion as to whether the complaint is a good complaint or a bad complaint."
Every year, when Rhode Island lawmakers start working on a new budget, they face a spending plan mired in red ink. By law, the budget must be balanced by the end of the legislative session, usually in June. But like a boomerang, projected budget deficits zoom back to Smith Hill by the time the new session starts in January. Next year will no different -- Rhode Island already faces the fiscal year starting in July 2014 with an estimated $149 million hole. And the state lacks a plan for overcoming budget deficits that are projected to get far worse with time.
General Treasurer Gina Raimondo joins Political Roundtable this week to discuss 2014; the health of the state pension plan; her views on boosting Rhode Island's economy; and whether adding table games is the best way for the state to protect one of its largest revenue sources.
If gubernatorial-candidate-in-waiting Gina Raimondo has bold ideas for sparking Rhode Island's economy, she's keeping them to herself. Instead, during a taping Thursday of RIPR's Political Roundtable, Raimondo sounded a lot like Rhode Island's current governor, Lincoln Chafee, in emphasizing a focus on improving the economic fundamentals.
As the $110 million deficit of January 2011 recedes in the rear-view mirror, Providence still faces sharp economic challenges. One of the most serious is how Rhode Island's capital city desperately needs a broader tax base, even as its highest-in-the-nation commercial taxes discourages the very economic development that would improve the situation.
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:
Governor Lincoln Chafee joins Political Roundtable this week to discuss whether RI Democrats are doing enough to move the economy forward; tolls on the Sakonnet River Bridge; NSA surveillaince; education policy; and why his poll ratings are so low.