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  • January 06, 2010
    By David Scharfenberg

    Steve Laffey, one-time mayor of a small Rhode Island city, still manages to attract national attention.

    Laffey, whose primary challenge to then-Senator Lincoln Chafee in 2006 was cast as a battle for the soul of the Republican Party, is back in the spotlight again with the speculation that he might seek the GOP nomination for governor - or even run as an independent.

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  • January 05, 2010
    By David Scharfenberg

    Yesterday Attorney General Patrick Lynch, Democratic candidate for governor, issued a sharp critique of Lincoln Chafee's proposal to expand the sales tax as a cure for the state's short-term fiscal woes. But his rival for the Democratic nomination, Treasurer Frank Caprio, stayed silent.

    Today, in response to a N4N request for comment, Caprio criticized Chafee's idea, but in the more measured tones we're accustomed to seeing from him:

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  • January 05, 2010
    By David Scharfenberg

    With Lincoln Chafee's proposal for an expansion of the sales tax, all eyes are on the gubernatorial candidates and their prescriptions for short-term solutions to the state's budget problem and long-term solutions to its economic development problem.

    But after Governor Carcieri named Keith Stokes, executive director of the Newport Chamber of Commerce, to a one-year appointment atop the state's Economic Development Corporation, it will be interesting to see if his recent call for a $50 million bond that could bolster the state's small business loan program gets some traction.

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  • January 04, 2010
    By David Scharfenberg

    Just spoke with Lincoln Chafee, who announced his independent candidacy for governor today. I'll have a longer piece on his announcement in this week's Phoenix. But for now, a couple of interesting tidbits on his proposal for expanding the sales tax to cover exempt items like food and clothing.

    Chafee suggested in his speech that he would tax these items at a lower rate, but didn't get into specifics.

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  • January 04, 2010
    By David Scharfenberg

    This just in from Attorney General Patrick Lynch, Democratic cnadidate for governor, on independent Lincoln Chafee's talk of taxing items like food and medicine currently exempt from the sales tax:

    “Senator Chafee’s proposal to change the current sales tax to a two-tiered tax on items including food and clothing is wrongheaded at best.

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  • January 04, 2010
    By David Scharfenberg

    Lincoln Chafee, in his official announcement of his independent run for governor, proposes that some items exempt from the sales tax - food, clothing, and over-the-counter drugs - be subject to a lower-level sales tax to help cure the state's fiscal woes.

    He seems to be going for an Obamaesque straight-talk message. And if he strikes a chord in that way, it could pay off.

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  • January 04, 2010
    By David Scharfenberg

    Happy New Year, all. And we start 2010 with a departure from the usual political and media fare, for an interesting bit of arts news: a small coup for Lupo's, with alt-country superstars Wilco scheduled to play the Providence venue April 4 - one of the smallest spots on an international tour that will include a stop at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canada. Tickets go on sale Friday at noon.

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