Although Governor Carcieri publicly projects a sense of optimism, the state -- to at least some extent -- has gotten bogged down in budget problems and the ongoing federal probe of State House influence-peddling. Despite all this, the governor struck a characteristically upbeat tone during a taping today of WPRI-WNAC's Newsmakers. The show will be broadcast this Sunday, February 11, at 5:30 am on CBS-Channel 12 and at 10 am on Fox 64.
Among other things, Carcieri said he is unfamiliar, beyond press reports, with the political and corporate targets of Operation Dollar Bill. He said he is "infuriated" that corrupt behavior continues to occur in Rhode Island and that it casts a pall over the state.
Carcieri said Michael Marques, the state's top business regulator, will divest his interest in a business involvement with gubernatorial friend Jim Rosati, who oversees Beacon Mutual -- which is regulated by Marques. A related announcement may be made today.
While the state's structural deficit will remain with the start of the new fiscal year this summer, the governor, based on past experience, remains hopeful about the state revenue estimate to be made in May. Carcieri called tax changes instituted in recent years "some of the most comprehensive reforms of any state in the country," and predicted that Rhode Island's overall economic outlook will brighten with continued efforts.
He didn't bite when I asked about who he would like to see as his successor in 2010. But those who consider him a lame duck have another thing coming, said Carcieri, who vowed to continue pushing hard for his agenda.