Give praise when and where it’s due, so a hearty job well-done should go out to Gov. Lincoln D. Chafee based on the most recent Pew Charitable Trusts Fiscal 50 results.
Coming out of the Great Recession, Gov. Chafee made it a priority to fill up the state’s rainy day fund, the result of which is that by the time he left office, Rhode Island could operate purely on rainy day funds for nearly 20 days, from a low of slightly less than 10 days just prior to the recession.
Gov. Chafee’s conservative stewardship of the state’s financial resources, which includes the landmark 2011 pension reform, which he and then-General Treasurer Gina M. Raimondo shepherded into law, improved the state’s fiscal position (despite the 38 Studios mess) and to a certain degree has given Gov. Raimondo a little more flexibility to implement a series of economic-development initiatives (something Gov. Chafee eschewed).
It is unclear just how important this one data point is to the health of the state, although it cannot be a bad idea to have a little money put away in case something unforeseen happens.