Saturday's news from the ProJo -- that the state deficit for the next fiscal year has climbed, from $200 million to between $400 million and $450 million -- clearly presents a stiff challenge to Governor Carcieir and legislative leaders. Yet it also feeds into those predicting a doomsday scenario for state spending -- with possibly significant political consequences.
For now, it's far too early to glimpse the fallout, yet it's hardly coincidental that Steve Laffey turned up on John DePetro's show this morning. Cranston's former uber-mayor cited the need for "a new breed of leaders," and talked of how Cranstonians chose him during tough times because they "paid attention" and "wanted real change."
As I wrote in May, Laffey has telegraphed his interest in running for governor in 2010.
Is Laffey too conservative to win statewide in Rhode Island? Time will tell. But a continuing meltdown of state finances, aided by the slowing of the national economy, could certainly play into his narrative.