This week brings crucial developments in the 2014 Rhode Island governor’s race: tomorrow a WPRI-Providence Journal public opinion survey releases veteran pollster Joe Fleming’s numbers on the race. Then on Wednesday, the most important new twist comes when the legal settlement in the 2011 state public employee pension overhaul is made public.
Campaign managers of the three main democrats running for governor met Monday to start hammering out a pledge to limit outside spending in the race. John Marion, president of the good government group, Common Cause, facilitated the two-hour meeting.
The so-called People’s Pledge made headlines in the Massachusetts senate race between Scott Brown and Elizabeth Warren. In that race the candidates agreed to discourage outside spending on TV, radio and the internet, but not direct mail.
State officials and the public-employee unions that sued over a 2011 overhaul of the state pension system have reached a settlement, yet the deal remains shrouded in secrecy in advance of its expected unveiling Wednesday afternoon.
Governor Lincoln Chafee and Treasurer Gina Raimondo briefed House Speaker Gordon Fox and Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed on highlights of the agreement during a closed-door Statehouse meeting Monday afternoon. Fox declined to offer any specifics after emerging from the meeting:
Speculation continues about whether a settlement will emerge from closed-door pension mediation as soon as next week.
The head of the Rhode Island League of Cities and Towns, Daniel Beardsley, is worried that a settlement could hike pension costs for communities by more than $100 million. The league outlines its concerns in a new white paper. But as Beardsley says, it remains unclear if the General Assembly will be receptive to approving a settlement.
In a statement, Taveras says, “I am grateful to these 32 State Senators and State Representatives for their support and for their belief in the Democratic values that I stand for,” said Mayor Angel Taveras. “I look forward to continuing to work with these officials, and all Rhode Islanders, to convey my message of hope and my plans to move Rhode Island forward.”
The Wall Street Journal’s editorial board is criticizing Gina Raimondo over a move to drop the most successful hedge fund in the state pension plan. The hedge fund is run by a trustee of a conservative New York think tank criticized by teachers’ unions.
The hedge fund Third Point LLC offered a 25 percent return to Rhode Island’s pension fund over the last year. That’s far better than the 14 percent earned by the pension fund as a whole. Yet the state Investment Commission, which is chaired by Raimondo, voted last week to divest its holdings in Third Point.
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Angel Taveras released a proposal Tuesday to try to ensure women receive the same pay for their work as men.
Taveras spoke at Craftland, a woman-owned business on Westminster Street in downtown Providence, to highlight disparities in pay for women and men. He says if elected governor, he’ll appoint more women to office, examine the equity of pay for state workers, and impose stiffer penalties for violations of Rhode Island’s pay equity laws. Taveras says paying women and men the same for the same work is the right thing to do.
Democratic gubernatorial candidates Angel Taveras and Gina Raimondo are sparring over campaign spending by independent third-party groups.
A Texas hedge fund billionaire, John Arnold, recently gave $100,000 to a super PAC backing Raimondo’s campaign for governor. Taveras’ campaign says if Raimondo wants to keep Wall Street and other special interests out of the race, she should call for the American LeadHERship PAC to return Arnold’s contribution.