RI General Asembly

Chris Potter / Flickr

It’s that time of year again: income tax filings are due. And candidates for governor are talking about cutting taxes. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay says voters should be wary of political tax promises.

Former Rhode Island State Rep. Peter Palumbo, a Cranston Democrat, in plea deal with the attorney general’s office in a campaign finance case, has been found guilty of unlawful appropriation of more than $1,000 from his campaign fund, sentenced to probation and ordered pay restitution.

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

The Pawtucket Red Sox management says it has concerns with and is not ready to get behind a revised stadium financing plan floated last week by the Rhode Island Senate Finance Committee.

RIPR File Photo

38 Studios is the Rhode Island scandal that just won’t go away. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay wonders how the state can put this mess in the rear-view mirror.

Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

The bills aimed at giving Burrillville residents a say in a tax treaty between the local town council and Invenergy, the company proposing to build a power plant, died in a senate committee this week.

Leon F. Tejada, a former Providence City Council member and state representative, was sentenced to 12 months and one day in federal prison for devising and executing two tax fraud schemes to steal tax refunds from  76 taxpayers whose returns he prepared and filed.

RIPR FILE

Once again, Rhode Island has a mediocre jobs report. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay ponders the state’s economic future.

RIPR FILE

Rhode Island has long been engaged in a debate about government benefits for the poor. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay says our state isn’t as generous as most other New England states on helping those with less.

House Speaker Nick Mattiello, D-Cranston has heard the complaints for years from conservatives and some elements of the business community:  That Rhode Island’s overly generous social welfare programs handcuff taxpayers and harm the state’s business climate.

RIPR FILE

Once again, Rhode Island politics is ensnared in a public employee pension controversy. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay says it’s time to put this issue in our collective rear view mirror.

It’s well past time to get beyond the noisy debate over public employee pensions in Rhode Island. It’s a joust that has ensnared  the Statehouse for more than a generation. It has long pitted the business community against public employees and their union leaders, fractured relations between conservatives and liberals and led to tortuous attempts for years to shore up the system.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Gov. Gina Raimondo has proposed her first state budget. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay looks at the politics of our new governor’s taxing and spending plan.

It’s difficult to argue with the rhetoric behind our new governor’s $8.6 billion budget plan. In her televised address from the Statehouse last Thursday evening, Raimondo outlined her goals in a convincing fashion, hitting all the high notes.  Her smorgasbord of ideas provides a little something for everyone.

Lawmakers Try Again To Legalize Marijuana

Mar 6, 2015
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Rhode Island lawmakers have once again introduced legislation to legalize the recreational use of marijuana. Proponents want to tax and regulate the drug like alcohol.

Lawmakers have been trying to pass marijuana legalization laws for years. This time they can point to the experiences of several other states that have already passed such laws. The Senate bill would make it legal for anyone 21 and older to have up to an ounce of pot, or grow a couple of plants at home. It would also allow retailers to sell marijuana, as long as they include a safety warning.

John Bender / RIPR

Former House Speaker Gordon Fox has admitted that he violated the law by converting campaign money to personal use and accepting a bribe to wire a liquor license for a Thayer Street bar that the neighbors weren’t  too keen on having near their homes.

But in Rhode Island political circles, the biggest rule he broke was the iron, if unofficial, Statehouse cliché: Don’t take a dime while you are serving in the General Assembly. Then cash in for as much as you can make later.

Veteran Rhode Island political reporter Jim Baron was remembered this afternoon as a journalist of great integrity, ability, dedication and humor at a celebration of his life at the Bellows Funeral Chapel in Lincoln, R.I.

Baron, who died January 5 at age 57 after a protracted illness, was a reporter for the Pawtucket Times and Woonsocket Call whose career spanned more than three decades, most of it spent covering Rhode Island politics and the General Assembly.

CVS Health

What to make of the news that CVS Health, which is headquartered in Rhode Island, is opening a high-tech center in Boston.  RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay has some thoughts.

Rhode Island-based CVS Health employs more than 7,000 workers in our state. The pharmacy giant calls Woonsocket home, but the recent news that it is opening a high-tech center in Boston sent shivers through segments of the business and  economic development community in a state with New England’s highest unemployment rate.

While pols and pundits lament the lack of competition in R.I. House elections across Rhode Island – almost half of all lawmakers are unopposed – that isn’t the case on Providence’s East Side House District 4.

The seat opened up after the incumbent, former House Speaker Gordon Fox, stepped away after his capitol office and home were raided by state and federal agents in March. Fox hasn’t been charged with any crimes yet, but he wisely decided against running again.

Three well-qualified Democrats are vying for their party’s nomination in the September 9 primary.

Pages