Nick Mattielllo

Budget. Truck Tolls. Presidential Politics. It's all going on, so thanks for stopping by for my weekly column. As usual, your tips and comments are welcome, and you can follow me through the week on the twitters. Here we go.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

As expected, Governor Raimondo's controversial truck toll proposal quickly emerged as a hot topic on the first day of the 2016 General Assembly session. House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello said he expects a revised version of the governor's plan to emerge in a week or two, although it might take longer, and that he anticipates passage early in the session. 

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Former House Finance chairman Steve Costantino said through his lawyer Wednesday that he's willing to return to Rhode Island to answer questions about the state's ill-fated investment in the video game company 38 Studios.

"Mr. Costantino is aware of the intent of the committee you chair to have him appear for testimony on January 14, 2016," lawyer Marc DeSisto writes in a letter to Oversight Chairwoman Karen MacBeth. "I have been authorized by Mr. Costantino to advise you that he is willing to appear and testify before your committee without the need to utilize a subpoena."

Former state representative Tim Williamson argues in a letter to the state Ethics Commission that Rhode Island's revolving door law doesn't apply to him.

In a letter dated December 4, Williamson seeks an advisory opinion on whether anything in the Code of Ethics bars him from seeking or accepting a judicial post, due to his part-time work as a lawyer for the House Judiciary Committee.

How's that presidential campaign working out for you? Thanks for stopping by for my weekly column. As usual, your tips and feedback are welcome via email, and you can follow me through the week on the twitters. Here we go.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Governor Gina Raimondo said Thursday that a newly released impact study on her truck toll plan shows that the proposal will help Rhode Island’s economy.

The study by Regional Economic Models predicts the toll plan could boost the state’s gross domestic product by $538 million. The study also predicts the governor’s toll proposal will create a net increase of more than 6,000 jobs.

In a statement, House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello says he’s digesting the impact study.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Five Republican lawmakers and one independent unveiled a proposal Wednesday to steer $875 million to improving Rhode Island's decrepit bridges over 10 years without imposing tolls on trucks and without the borrowing costs in a competing plan backed by Governor Gina Raimondo.

Ian Donnis/File Photo / RIPR

A coalition of five advocacy groups wants Rhode Island lawmakers to declare whether or not they support thorough legislative hearings and an outside investigation to document what went wrong with 38 Studios.

RIPR FILE

Rhode Island’s General Assembly and Gov. Gina Raimondo have reached agreement on her first state budget. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay on what the new budget will do and what it lacks.

The $8.7 billion state budget for the financial year that begins three days before the Bristol 4th of July parade  seems greased for approval at the Statehouse. As is usually the case, this spending and taxing plan contains elements Rhode Islanders should cheer yet   fails to address some of our little state’s crying needs.

Ian Donnis/File Photo / RIPR

House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello is putting the brakes on Governor Raimondo’s plan to impose new tolls on trucks.

Speaker Mattiello was at Governor Raimondo’s side last week when she unveiled a plan to make larger commercial trucks pay tolls. Raimondo, who took steps to soften the plan this week, called it a sensible way to pay for road and bridge construction. She said big rigs cause most of the damage.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

College of the Holy Cross professor Victor Matheson, a sports economist, says the economic benefits of the PawSox’ proposed Providence ballpark do not justify a large commitment of public dollars. Matheson spoke Wednesday morning during an event sponsored by the Blackstone Valley Tourism Council.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Governor Gina Raimondo said Tuesday she's unsure if the Pawtucket Red Sox proposal to move to Providence will be decided -- as the team's ownership hopes -- before the end of the General Assembly session.

Ian Donnis/File Photo / RIPR

House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello joins Political Roundtable this week to discuss the Pawtucket Red Sox' request for $120 million in state lease payments over 30 years; Twin River's proposal to establish a casino in Tiverton; and some of the major changes he foresees for Governor Gina Raimondo's budget proposal.

You can hear more of our conversation with Speaker Mattiello on Bonus Q+A.

House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello joins Bonus Q+A to discuss the PawSox' proposal for a Providence stadium; state efforts to curb Medicaid spending; the state of ethics reform at the Statehouse; and much more.

You can hear more of our conversation with Speaker Mattiello on Political Roundtable.

Ian Donnis/File Photo / RIPR

House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello wants to eliminate the "Taylor Swift tax"  -- Governor Gina Raimondo's proposed statewide property tax on vacation homes worth more than $1 million.

"I'm hoping that the revenues are there to eliminate that," Mattiello said during a taping Thursday of Rhode Island Public Radio's Political Roundtable. "You could look to see that eliminated. I agree with the public sentiment that you don't open the door to a new tax, because it's just going to expand in the future, so that's something that I'm really looking to eliminate."

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