Scott MacKay commentary

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Rhode Island state government tackled public employee pensions in a landmark 2011 retirement system overhaul. But RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay says that law didn’t end the local pension obligations that still haunt many communities.


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In the famous words of an old friend and colleague Charlie Bakst (the ProJo’s longtime political columnist, when the state’s largest newspaper had such a position), I’m getting cranky.

Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo went off on the local media at a Brown forum this week. Among her complaints: the Providence Journal is no longer what it once was, television news has become more sensational and talk radio is, well, silly (those were not her exact words, but we get her drift). Sam Howard at RIFuture.org, and my friend and partner in crime here at RIPR Ian Donnis, have both written thoughtful things about this and I commend them.

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Political scientists recall a time when elected officials campaigned for office, then laid off the political pitches while they governed. RIPR Political Analyst Scott MacKay says those days are long gone.  

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President Donald Trump’s administration is seeking to reverse the Obama administration’s policy of deferring deportation of young immigrants brought to this country illegally as children.  

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It’s Labor Day, the holiday celebrating working people. That got RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay thinking about unions, and the decline of organized labor in the private economy.  

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This summer, there was good news and bad news for public employees.  RI Gov. Gina Raimondo vetoed legislation that would have kept their labor contracts in effect while a new contract is under negotiation.  But the governor allowed a measure to make it easier for police and firefighters to get tax-free disability pensions. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay says Raimondo may have gotten her priorities wrong on these bills.  


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Now that the latest Republican effort to replace the Affordable Care Act has failed, RIPR Political Analyst Scott MacKay says it’s time to resurrect some ideas with roots in Rhode Island and Massachusetts.  


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The National Governor’s Conference brought leaders from around the world to Providence to discuss such topics as trade, climate change and the opioid crisis. RIPR Political analyst Scott MacKay says this was a sharp contrast with Rhode Island, where lawmakers can’t even figure out how to approve a state budget. 

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Few institutions in our society remain relevant for more than two centuries. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay takes us to his adopted hometown of Bristol, where the 232nd Independence Day parade steps off Tuesday.

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Former Gov. and U.S. Senator Lincoln Chafee is back on the scene with a series of media appearances. Chafee is thinking about running for governor again, but RIPR Political Analyst Scott MacKay wonders why. 

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Across Rhode Island, college graduates are headed to the wider world. But many of them will spend years paying down the student loans that financed their degrees. RIPR Political Analyst Scott MacKay says it’s time to give students a break, and bring down the cost of higher education.   

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The Providence City Council has been ensnared in controversy of late. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay wonders why the council is so ineffective.

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Boston’s big hospital system –Partners HealthCare—is acquiring Care New England, Rhode Island’s second largest hospital chain. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay says this deal raises many questions about the quality and price of health care in the Ocean State.

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The Providence College and University of Rhode Island men’s basketball teams have given fans much to cheer about this season. RIPR Political Analyst Scott MacKay reminds us that these two gems of Rhode Island higher education are celebrating more important milestones this year.  

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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.

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