Welcome back to my Friday column. The news keeps coming fast and furious, from near and far, although the local pace is bound to include just a few more leisure moments with the approach of summer. Feel free to share your tips and thoughts at idonnis (at) ripr (dot) org, and to follow me on the twitters. Here we go.
State Representative Joseph Shekarchi (D-Warwick) joins Political Roundtable this week to discuss the House budget; 38 Studios; the latest findings about public school performance in Rhode Island; and a new entry in the race for lieutenant governor.
A House vote in favor of a new $8.7 billion budget early Friday was dominated by debate about 38 Studios. The spending plan for the fiscal year starting July 1 includes $12.3 million dollars to continue paying back investors in the failed video game company.
Budget articles passed with lopsided margins and mostly no back and forth. Yet an attempt to establish an independent prosecutor to examine how the state bungled into 38 Studios sparked sharp exchanges. Representative Michael Marcello (D-Scituate) argued in favor of the outside probe.
The liberal-leaning Economic Progress Institute says the budget slated for a House vote Thursday provides $9 million in tax breaks "to the heirs of wealthy estates," while cutting $3.9 million in tax benefits for low to moderate-income Rhode Islanders.