It is time to challenge the status quo insider mindset and to search for a more holistic path to help real Rhode Islanders improve their quality of life. This week, the Center held a forum at Bryant University that provided an ideal opportunity for community, religious, and political leaders to convene to begin the process. We brought together leaders on both the left and right to discuss the challenging questions, and the strongest voices stood in stark contrast to the corporate tax-credit policies that have been the center-piece of the Raimondo administration’s economic development agenda.
When our state ranks 48th in family prosperity and dead last in business climate, a ‘no broad-based tax increase’ strategy simply is not good enough. We just lost more jobs! The new mandates, increased minimum wage, and new penalties on businesses only rub salt in the wound. More taxes and more special handout spending policies are exactly the wrong approach; especially corporate tax credits, which do nothing to help the average family and business. Where is the bold action? Believe me, the lack of leadership and vision and the acceptance of our dismal status quo is stunning.
Instead of greater tax burdens on families and increased mandates on small businesses, broad-based relief that opens the door for more and better businesses to create more and better jobs is what we need if we want a better quality of life for Rhode Island families. Whether it is criminal justice reform, taxation, or education, if we are to improve our state’s dismal 48th place ranking in overall family prosperity, we need smart solutions. We must make helping families the focus of our public policy and private advocacy.
Rhode Islanders have had enough of the insider machine and the wasteful spending in the state budget. It is time to make a complete turnaround. We must adopt the family friendly reforms that can make our state a place where our families can be prosperous. You are powerful. You do not have to tolerate the cronyism and elitist attitude any longer. Don’t be on the sidelines. The rigged system in the Ocean State has kept too many people out of the process. Now is the time for you to speak out and demand that status quo changes.