Latest Articles

Raimondo's Reply

Last week, I wrote in this space about a letter a coalition of seven liberal advocacy groups wrote to Treasurer Gina Raimondo, asking her to...
By David Scharfenberg  |  January 19, 2012

Liberal Advocacy Group Targets Raimondo Speech

Liberal advocacy group People for the American Way (PFAW) is joining local union officials in criticizing Treasurer Gina Raimondo for accepting an award from the...
By David Scharfenberg  |  January 10, 2012

Forbes on the Raimondo Speech

Forbes was in attendance today in new York as Treasurer Gina Raimondo accepted an award from the right-leaning Manhattan Institute for Public Policy Research for...
By David Scharfenberg  |  January 05, 2012

The Progressive Defection

There was much that was striking about last night's vote to approve a sweeping pension overhaul. Ted Nesi over at WPRI, who has provided excellent...
By David Scharfenberg  |  November 18, 2011

Real pension reform? No thanks; Smokin’ Joe; a call for winter coats

As Phillipe and Jorge go to press, we noted that more than 30 amendments were being proposed for the pension reform bill at the State House.
Last-minute shopping
By PHILLIPE AND JORGE  |  November 18, 2011

Parsing Winners and Losers in the Pension Battle

We've got a pretty good sense, now, for what the pension bill will look like when it comes up for a vote. And most observers...
By David Scharfenberg  |  November 10, 2011

Conservative Think Tank: RI's Pension Crisis Twice as Bad as You Think

Conservative think tank Rhode Island Center for Freedom & Prosperity is touting a new report from the Mercatus Center at George Mason University suggesting the...
By David Scharfenberg  |  November 08, 2011

The Politics of Pension Reform, Part 2

Yesterday, I wrote about the various political forces bearing down on members of the General Assembly as they decide how to vote on Treasurer Gina...
By David Scharfenberg  |  October 20, 2011

The Politics of Pension Reform, Part 1

There is much at stake in the looming battle over pension reform: the state's fiscal future and quality of life for tens of thousands of...
By David Scharfenberg  |  October 19, 2011

New Poll Shows Broad Support for Pension Reform

A new poll from EngageRI, a coalition of businesses, trade asscoations, and social services agencies, finds three-quarters of Rhode Island voters support pension reform along...
By David Scharfenberg  |  October 06, 2011

Chafee Interview: Part II

Last week, I sat down with Governor Chafee for an interview on several topics. I've written, in this space, about his comments on medical marijuana. But...
By David Scharfenberg  |  October 03, 2011


Organized labor's big moment

The public discussion around organized labor's influence on Rhode Island politics is a crude business.
How much clout do Rhode Island's unions wield, circa 2011? We're about to find out
By DAVID SCHARFENBERG  |  September 16, 2011

In the Phoenix: Labor and the ProJo

In this week's Phoenix, I've got a piece suggesting that the looming fight over pension reform will provide a window on one of the most pressing questions...
By David Scharfenberg  |  September 15, 2011

Licht: Reamortization Still on the Table

The public debate over pension reform has not focused, lately, on reamortization: refinancing the state's pension obligation and pushing some of the pain down the...
By David Scharfenberg  |  September 14, 2011

A Thoughtful Gag

Bob Walsh, executive director of the National Education Association-Rhode Island, called for a "thoughtful pause" on pension reform in the wake of a judge's decision...
By David Scharfenberg  |  September 14, 2011

Now the Hard Part

Now that Treasurer Gina Raimondo has laid out some options for substantial pension reform, the hard part: getting meaningful legislation passed. Last year, the Pew...
By David Scharfenberg  |  May 23, 2011

Protect teachers' pensions

Our governor proposes more money for K-12 education, no cuts in funding for higher education, and increased funding for Medicaid. Good for almost everyone. He also promises to lower the personal state income tax for upper-income earners, and to eliminat
Letters to the Portland Editor, February 25, 2011
By PORTLAND PHOENIX LETTERS  |  February 25, 2011

Walking on broken glass

There must be some kind of law that kicks in whenever a prominent politician leaves office, requiring every columnist and pundit to blather on at length about the triumphs and tragedies of that esteemed figure's checkered career.
A (very) short list of Baldacci's successes
By AL DIAMON  |  December 17, 2010

Boston tucks away a $125 million windfall

As debate continues over the city’s finances — and whether the city of Boston can afford firefighters’ raises, branch libraries, community-center staffing, and other costs in tight times — the city is planning to quietly tuck away a one-time windfall of
More for Moneybags?
By DAVID S. BERNSTEIN  |  May 21, 2010

Things are looking up?

When the economy collapsed, we nuked pensions.
Idiot Box
By MATT BORS  |  November 06, 2009

Trouble 'round the bend?

Perhaps because it hasn’t exploded into a public shutdown of services (as happened a few years ago in New York), arguably the most important fact about the MBTA has escaped public notice: most of its workers have been without a contract for nearly two ye
MBTA workers have been without a contract for two years. Arbitration will settle the matter soon, but could stir an angry hornets’ nest for 2010.
By DAVID S. BERNSTEIN  |  April 30, 2008

Letters to the Portland editor: March 14, 2008

I must add though, if I was born black, I would most likely be dead or in jail as I cannot stand discrimination or selective authority.
At last, she gets it!

Rhode Island’s great communicator

The Governor's message mastery is a prime asset — and a leading challenge for democrats — in the 2006 campaign
Is Carcieri RI's Barry Goldwater?
By IAN DONNIS  |  January 13, 2006