Through a crystal ball, darkly. (Feel free to add your own top questions for 2012 in comments)
— Will Governor Lincoln Chafee offer a more coherent message that helps lift his slumping approval rating?
— Will the General Assembly approve a meaningful overhaul of severely underfunded locally managed pension funds in an election year?
— Will Rhode Island be able to stanch the bleeding from a leading revenue source when casinos open for business in Massachusetts?
— Will the hangover from Providence’s fiscal problems prove the undoing of David Cicilline, or will the incumbent survive, thanks to his energy, fundraising, reshaped congressional district, and how he’ll be running during a presidential election?
— Will labor rebuild its influence on the General Assembly, or will Gina Raimondo and Engage RI have a lasting impact?
— Will other fossilized deposits of old-school Providence mismanagement and cronyism surface?
— Will Rhode Island be able to move past its perennial struggles to bolster economic development and competitiveness?
— Will the Providence Journal’s recently adopted online approach enable the state’s largest news organization to stanch the bleeding in its print subscriptions and ad revenue?
— Will the pension law linger as a singular accomplishment, or will it signal a new ability on the part of state government to tackle other complicated policy problems?
— Will Angel Taveras be able to maintain his high approval rating while continuing to fight big fiscal challenges in the state’s most important city, possibly with another tax increase?
— How will the increased spending from outside groups made possible by Citizens United impact RI elections and campaigns?
— Will the RI Republican Party, after losing an experienced leader with high-level experience, be able to increase its modest presence in the General Assembly?