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Speaker Murphy Says Casino Dead for 2007 (posted November 26, 2006)

Rhode Island House Speaker William Murphy says a new casino proposal is off the table for 2007. Appearing on the WJAR-TV show "10 News Conference", Murphy replied "absolutely not" when asked if the General Assembly would consider a new casino proposal in 2007. Legislative colleagues are "tired of the effort" and feel it is time to look at other ways of producing revenues for the state. However, the Speaker did not address casino prospects beyond 2007.

The legislative leader said his top priority in the new year's sesssion would be to "continue our path forward with economic development." He called for the General Assembly to consider new economic development at Quonset Point. One idea he floated was a "lay-down port", which he said was a facility that shipped heavy machinery overseas outside of containers. "There are possibilities we should explore," he said. Quonset should not consist merely of space for commercial offices.

Governor Don Carcieri has called for new pension reforms for state employees, such as the creation of 401 "k" retirement accounts. However, Speaker Murphy said "we will not touch any worker in the system now". But Murphy indicated openness to changes that would apply to new public employees. Any defined contribution reform such as 401 "k" accounts would be "prospective", meaning it would be an option for new employees only.

Murphy called the current FBI investigation into possible General Assembly corruption as "unfortunate" and "not beneficial to the state of Rhode Island". However, he said that he himself has not been questioned by the FBI and that misdeeds occurred before he took over the Speaker's office. Murphy complained that it was "disheartening" to have both gubernatorial candidates attacking the General Assembly during the 2006 election.