Rhode Island Tip Sheet: It’s still the economy
STATE OF THE STATE: The US economy grew by 3.2 percent in the fourth quarter . . . . The Daily Beast says RI ranks worst for deepest state debt, but Ted Nesi isn’t buying it . . . . Federal taxes called at their lowest level since 1950 . . . . PBN says Providence has caught “startup fever” . . . .
KEITH SPEAKS: During a taping this morning of WPRI-WNAC-TV’s Newsmakers, EDC director Keith Stokes acknowledged there’s not a requirement for employees of 38 Studios to reside in Rhode Island when the company moves here, although he calls that a non-issue. The Chafee administration has said Stokes continues to serve under his previous appointment and will stay on the job for at least a year. Asked if that could undercut his effectiveness — considering a revolving door of EDC directors through the years — Stokes says the vision of the governor and the EDC’s board important is more important. He defended the EDC against criticism that it too frequently chases millionaires, asserting that the agency’s small-business succeesses go unheralded in the media . . . . Meanwhile, Governor Chafee has appointed four new members of the EDC, including Helena Buonanno Foulkes to replace Alfred Verrecchia as vice chair. The other new members are Stanley Weiss, Jerauld Adams, and Jack Templin, a leader in RI’s geek-tech sector.
ARE THE WEALTHY FLEEING RI? Progressive economic observer Tom Sgouros and Bill Felkner of the Ocean State Policy Research Institute went head-to-head during the second half of Newsmakers on whether taxes are causing the rich to flee RI. Felkner stuck by OSPRI’s recent study, while Sgouros says the data was misinterpreted.
IS THE SNOW FLEEING PROVIDENCE’S STREETS? Backhoes, front-loaders, dump trucks, and maybe even a tractor trailer, are being used to cart snow from streets and sidewalks to the Old North Burial Ground.
LEGAL CUTS: Rhode Island Legal Services, which offers free civil legal help to poor Rhode Islanders, is laying off its 13-person paralegal staff.
SHELDON’S BIG HAUL: The stars are in alignment for a successful Sheldon Whitehouse fundraiser (this Sunday, January 30, 5-7 pm, in the Biltmore’s Garden Room), when not just Jack Reed writes a letter on your behalf, but also former state Rep. David Segal, Providence’s prince of progressive politics. Writing in the same best-defense-is-a-strong offense meme as Reed, Segal says via e-mail, “For four years Sheldon Whitehouse has provided a strong, progressive voice in the U.S. Senate. He faces his first re-election in 2012, and a bevy of far-right Republicans — including Governor Carcieri and recent gubernatorial candidate John Robitaille — are considering running against him.”
CITY HAUL: Dan McGowan reports that Thomas Glavin is on the outs as chief of staff for the Providence City Council. Tip Sheet hears that former Patrick Kennedy staffer Chris Kent or Jake Bissaillon, who managed Steven Costantino’s mayoral run, could be the heir apparent.
GARY ALEXANDER UPDATE: Megan Hall reports on how the former DHS chief might know how much the Global Medicaid Waver saved RI, but his former department has no idea.
LATINOS IN RI: Elisabeth Harrison reports on the view from the schools . . . . My story on growing Latino representation on the Providence City Council is set to air Saturday morning on WRNI . . . Catch the whole series here.
BIRTHDAY: Rik Kleinfeldt.
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