scott mackay


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.

The Providence College Hockey Friars haven’t been to the Frozen Four in 30 years. Now the team is headed to Boston next week as one of the nation’s top four college hockey teams. Today, the R.I. House is honoring the team at the session that begins at 4 p.m.

The House will host coach Nate Leaman and some team members and issue a proclamation supporting the Friars as they get ready for the finals at TD Bank Gahden. The other team from Hockey East in the tournament is PC rival Boston University. A PC-BC final fame would fill the garden and give New England hockey fans a treat.

Former Providence Mayor Angel Taveras has landed at the international law firm of Greenberg Trauig, LLC, where he works out of the Boston office.

Taveras says he enjoys his new job with the large firm. The Boston office is located at One International Place in Boston.

The firm’s web site states that Taveras has a practice focused on municipal restructuring (a field he had lots of experience in during four years as mayor of Rhode Island’s capital); public finance; commercial litigation; pension litigation and public infrastructure.


The debate over moving the Pawtucket Red Sox from McCoy Stadium to a new ball park in Providence is raging. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay says it’s time for serious study, not hyperbole.

Tis the season of renewal: Easter, Passover and daffodils. Along with the longer days comes the return of baseball to New England. It may be hard to believe after our  harsh winter, but in two weeks the season opens at Fenway Park in Boston and at McCoy Stadium in Pawtucket.

Some good news from the Rhode Island Department of Revenue: The latest budget numbers from state government show state revenues up nearly $50 million ahead of projections.

Rosemary Gallogly, the outgoing director of revenue, said in a statement that year-to-date revenues are up about $47 million above the estimates.

The revenue growth has been fueled largely by an increase in personal income tax money. That could be a sign that the economy is gaining traction as Rhode Island’s slow recovery from the recession picks up steam.

Mayor Jorge Elorza has been in office at Providence City Hall for nearly three months now, but if you look at the city’s official economic development web site, you might come to the conclusion that Angel Taveras is still mayor.


  Mayor Jorge Elorza has appointed a U.S. Navy veteran as the city’s new director of public works. Elorza announced today that he has tapped Russell P. Knight, who has more than 30 years of operational and administrative experience in the Navy, to run a department that touches just about every Providence resident.

Knight served as vice-president for administration and operations at the U.S. Naval War College in Newport, where he was in charge of more than 600 employees and a $95 million annual budget.


Larry Eichler, who has been the acting executive director of the Providence Talks education program, has left City Hall. Eichler confirmed his resignation today in a brief interview, saying he is leaving to ``explore other opportunities.’’

Providence Talks is the celebrated program, funded by a $5 million grant from a philanthropy financed by the media magnate and former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, that is trying to help disadvantaged children expand their vocabularies.

The Teamsters Union Local 251 and Rhode Island Hospital management have reached a tentative agreement on a four-year contract that the union says will bring $19 million in improved wages and benefits to workers at the Lifespan hospital network.

The agreement was reached late Friday evening, according to a statement by the union bargaining committee posted on social media.


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.

Gov. Gina Raimondo joins RIPR Political Roundtable tomorrow for a discussion of her first budget and other topics. She talks about the Taylor Swift tax, the Medicaid cuts, the medical insurance tax, her economic development proposals, thePawSox move and more. Tune in tomorrow morning for Political Roundtable and Bonus Q &A with the governor and panelists Ian Donnis, Scott MacKay and Maureen Moakley. If you miss it, the entire interview with be posted at

In what Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management chief Janet Coit says is an effort to protect the striper fishery, DEM today filed new regulations for the recreational striped bass fishery for the 2015 fishing season.

The new rules set a bag limit of one striped bass per person per day, at a 28-inch minimum size, down from a daily limit of two fish per person last season. On the commercial side, the regulations will remain the same as last year – five fish per vessel per day, with a 34 inch minimum. But the commercial quota will be reduced by 25 percent.

Jeff Nickerson

  Wendy Nilsson has been appointed the new superintendent of the Providence Parks and Recreation Department, Mayor Jorge Elorza announced today.

Nilsson is founder and director of the Partnership for Providence Parks, a non-profit organization that brings community, business and citizen resources together to improve city parks. She has also worked with the Boston Community Centers and the Rhode Island Department of Education. Nilsson holds a master’s degree in education.

The annual Statehouse celebration of holidays held dear by Italian-Americans and Irish-Americans is scheduled for tomorrow (Wednesday, March 18) at 4 p.m. at the Capitol.

This annual event is a traditional one: The patron saints of Ireland (St. Patrick) and Italy (St. Joseph) are celebrated in song, speech and glasses hoisted in toasts. Frank O’Donnell, a well-known Rhode Island comedian, has been selected to deliver the annual speech about the Irish heritage in Rhode Island. On the Italian side, Johnston Mayor Joseph Polisena, will speak about Italian heritage.

Gov. Gina  Raimondo’s first budget proposes stripping about $2.5 million in state Payments-in-lieu of Taxes aid from Providence city government and another $1.1 million in such payments from Cranston. If you believe the General Assembly is going to allow these cuts you probably believe in the Easter Bunny.

Raimondo’s problem: The communities being hit on this one happen to be home to two of the most influential state lawmakers –House Speaker Nick Mattiello, D-Cranston, and House Majority Leader John DeSimone, D-Providence.