"We tried the 'get rich quick' approach by giving $75 million to a retired baseball player with no business experience," he said. "We cannot make such panic driven decisions again."
Chafee also won big applause when he vowed to work to craft legislation to prevent gun violence, citing last month's massacre of 20 children and six educators in Newtown, Conn.
But the 25-minute speech never strayed far from Chafee's economic prescription, and his confidence that the state is making strides.
The state expects to have $79 million in surplus funds when it ends the current fiscal year June 30 â¿¿ marking the second consecutive year of surplus. State revenue estimates are up, and the state's unemployment rate is down â¿¿ slightly â¿¿ to 10.4 percent.While that's still the second highest jobless rate in the nation, Chafee said there's reason for optimism. "Things are getting better," he said. "And we must build on this momentum to continue our recovery."