Lincoln Chafee

Providence is Rhode Island’s most diverse municipality. The capital city is home to just about every segment of  Rhode Island’s rich ethnic, racial and socio-economic  mix.

Thus Providence is a reliable prism through which to view the never-ending debate over the master lever. What the data show is that the some of the proponents of abolishing it have, as  Ricky Riccardo used to say to Lucy on the old Lucille Balll Show, ``some 'splanin to do.’’

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Eliminating the master lever in Rhode Island elections is picking up steam in the General Assembly. RIPR political analyst  Scott MacKay says getting rid of straight party voting may be much ado about not much.

The Rhode Island House of Representatives recently voted unanimously to end the so-called master lever, a relic of the state’s urban political machine past. A conga line of statewide elected politicians, from Gov. Lincoln Chafee down to Secretary of State Ralph Mollis, support this change.

Standard & Poor's Rating Services has put Rhode Island's credit on watch with negative implications due to ongoing debate about paying back bondholders who invested in the failed video game company 38 Studios.

In an advisory released Monday, S&P said it was lowering the rating on bonds issued by the Economic Development Corporation for 38 Studios in 2010 from A to BBB.

So here’s another report that shows just how badly the General Assembly has fumbled the 38 Studios ball. Gov. Lincoln Chafee has released a financial consultant’s report that shows that it would cost less for the state to pay off the 38 Studios  bonds than to default.

The finding, by the firm SJ Advisors, states that Rhode Island’s credit rating would take a significant hit if the state walked away from the $75 million in  bond obligations to those who invested retired Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling’s folly, 38 Studios.

Ian Donnis/File Photo / RIPR

A report commissioned by the Chafee administration has found that even under the best-case scenario, Rhode Island will be better off paying back bondholders who invested in the failed video-game company 38 Studios.

Ian Donnis/File Photo / RIPR

Pablo Rodriguez joins Political Roundtable this week to discuss the latest developments related to 38 Studios; competing legislative plans on funding infrastructure improvements; Governor Chafee's effectiveness as a lame duck; and the impact in Rhode Island of climate change.


What’s worse than the 38 Studios fiasco for Rhode Island ‘s political and economic reputation? RIPR political analyst  Scott MacKay points to the aftermath.

It’s been nearly four years since  then- Gov. Donald Carcieri, the state Economic Development Corporation and the General Assembly foisted the disaster that is 38 Studios on Rhode Island taxpayers.

Gov. Lincoln Chafee and Marcel Valois, executive director of Commerce Rhode Island, will embark on a European trade mission that will be focused on meeting with executives of companies that have expressed an interest in establishing operations in Rhode Island.

Chafee’s press office issued a statement saying that these company executive officials are interested in Rhode Island due to the state’s ``proximity to Europe, as well as the location in the busy northeast corridor and the convenience of TF Green Airport, industrial ports and rail and highway transportation systems.’’


Colleges, even state colleges, are too expensive and beyond the financial reach of some students. Rhode Island Public Radio political analyst  Scott MacKay on why college is still a great investment, both for taxpayers and students.

Fast upon us 'tis season of Lilacs, caps and gowns and those desultory commencement speeches about life being a journey. For too many seniors these days, the sheepskin comes with an avalanche of student loan debt.

Aaron Read / RIPR

Rhode Island’s unemployment rate has inched down to 8.7 percent in March, an improvement, but evidence that the state trails the region and most of the nation in economic activity.

The state Department of Labor and Training reports that new data shows the seasonally adjusted rate declined from 9 percent in February and is now at the lowest rate since September, 2008.

The number of Rhode Islanders who were working increased to 506,000 in March, a hike of 2,700 from February  statistics.

Rhode Island's multi-billion dollar pension dispute appears headed to a September 15 trial date in Superior Court after a breakdown in attempts to resolve the conflict through mediation.

Each side blamed the other for the impasse following more than a year of talks.

Unions representing nearly all state workers have tentatively agreed to a new contract.

The unions representing every state worker except correctional officers and state police have agreed to a contract that increases wages by six percent over four years and increases health care deductibles and co-pays.

State employees have gone nearly three years without a raise.

The Rhode Island Republican Party is backing up the GOP’s two gubernatorial candidates in saying that the state pension dispute should be resolved in court.  Two of the state’s leading Democrats still support the push for a settlement between the two sides

A proposed pension settlement unveiled in February was cast in doubt Monday when one of six groups that have to offer initial approval rejected the deal. State GOP chairman Mark Smiley said he agrees with his party’s gubernatorial candidates that the pension conflict should be decided in court.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Governor Lincoln Chafee says he remains hopeful the proposed state pension settlement can be salvaged, possibly by leaving out the police group that was the only one of six in an initial round of voting to reject the deal.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Federal investigators said an agreement announced Tuesday will make Rhode Island a national leader in integrating disabled people into the workplace

The 10-year pact grew out of an investigation last year that showed developmentally disabled were being sharply underpaid for their work.