The start of June has done nothing, naturally, to stop the breakneck flow of news in the Land of The Gift That Keeps on Giving. So welcome back to my weekly column. You can reach me at idonnis (at) ripr (dot) com, and (please) follow me on Twitter. Let's head in.
A business-backed advocacy group says Rhode Island needs to make fundamental changes to strengthen its economy. The Rhode Island Public Expenditure Council is urging support for legislation this week to reshape the state’s approach.
The Rhode Island Public Expenditure Council, RIPEC, said lower than expected state revenue is a sign of continued weakness in Rhode Island’s economy. In contrast to Massachusetts, the Ocean State has yet to regain the peak number of jobs that existed before the recession.
State Representative J. Patrick O'Neill (D-Pawtucket) joins the Roundtable this week (along with guest panelist Dan McGowan of WPRI-TV, Channel 12) to discuss Governor Lincoln Chafee's move to become a Democrat; the way forward for economic development, and legislative questions.
The Chafee administration is conducting a financial analysis on the cost of not paying back the moral obligation bonds that funded a $75 million loan guaranty for failed video game maker 38 Studios, the governor's spokeswoman said Tuesday.
Chafee spokeswoman Christine Hunsinger says the governor remains a strong believer that paying back the investors who bought the bonds is the right thing to do.
Margaux Morisseau became a leader in the fight against payday lending after seeing its impact in the Constitution Hill neighborhood of Woonsocket. She works there as a community advocate for a nonprofit agency. This blue-collar neighborhood was once full of boarded up homes, and it has seen a comeback in recent years. But a payday lending shop moved in about three years ago and Morisseau says things have taken a turn for the worse.
Thanks for stopping by for my weekly column, truncated this time before the ceremonial start of summer. Let's get to it.
1. The 2013 legislative season will be remembered as the Year Rhode Island Legalized Same-Sex Marriage. How much more of substance gets done as the weeks tick down is an open question, particularly with lower than expected revenue estimates casting a pall over the budget.
RI GOP chairman joins the Roundtable this week (along with guest panelist Tim White of WPRI-TV, Channel 12) to discuss the debate over state Education Commissioner Deborah Gist; Moderate Party founder Ken Block's entry in the 2014 gubernatorial race, what's next for Rhode Island Republicans, and more.