Rhode Island’s Politicians Are Failing

mike-stenhouse-avatar
For too long, the political class has failed the people of our state. At $888 per year for each of Rhode Island’s one million residents, a family of four is paying over $3,500 annually for excessive compensation deals for government workers, while the basic needs of their own families are being ignored by politicians.
With almost two-thirds of these excessive costs being heaped upon municipal taxpayers, our recent Public Union Excesses report further estimates that property taxes could be reduced by 25% if more reasonable, market-based collective bargaining agreements were negotiated.
The people of our state have lost trust in their government, and are tired of the betrayals from lawmakers who have forgotten them, and instead cater only to special-interest concerns. Legislators make it ever-harder for Rhode Islanders to take care of their families and reside in the Ocean State.
For these reasons, Rhode Island is not keeping pace with the rest of the nation when it comes to jobs and population growth. Our state ranks a dismal 47th on the Jobs & Opportunity Index developed by our Center. After ten years of perhaps the slowest economic recovery among all states, Rhode Island’s political leaders are failing on their promises to help the average family.
Things do not have to be this way in Rhode Island. There are common sense solutions to help the average family, but it is up to you to speak out against the broken status quo. It is up to each of us to change it.


  • Makaha Ken

    Rhode Island’s problems can’t all be blamed on the unions. A lot of it can be blamed on people and politicians wanting local control (everyone wants to be a chief and not a indian) therefore creating uncontrollable local government growth which has to be financed via taxes the very thing you are talking about lowering.

    Case in point, State of Rhode Island covers 1,214 sq. mi. (48 miles North to South and 37 miles East to West) and has 39 incorporated cities and towns full independent governments and a state police force but yet has 66 independent school districts with full administrations, staffing and school committees according to Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE). When I moved out of RI in 2006 there were only 37 school districts listed by RIDE. My Rhode Island municipal property tax was North of $6,000 per year in my city. Rhode Island is out of control with micro-management! 

    My adopted State of Hawaii is significantly larger than Rhode Island covers 10,931 sq. mi. across 132 non connected islands stretching 1,800 miles North to South and 1,500 miles East to West and has only 4 municipality forms of county governments and 1 unified single school district with 1 administration, over 22,000 staff and 1 school committee operated by the State of Hawaii government funded by state income tax, state sales tax and any additional special state licensing and usage fees plus there is no state police force in Hawaii. My Hawaii municipal property tax is $300 per year also my retirement income and social security is exempted from Hawaii state income tax. Hawaii’s public unions are a lot stronger, larger and more vocal than Rhode Island unions.

    • Joe Smith

      Ken – your statistics are not correct and your comparison between HI and RI is flawed.

      Second point first. HI’s K-12 education is funded 90% by state and 8% by the federal government; hence your local property tax is small because hardly any is needed for education, which is the biggest single item generally for any locality, even for places like Providence where 65% of the funding is state. Your most apt comparison is Central Falls and that is run by the state (and with about the same results as you see in HI..)

      My municipality funds 80% of the schools – why shouldn’t my local council and committee have most of the say – especially since those are folks I can easily reach out and touch and are accountable locally every 2/4 years? Most of us either can’t get to the statehouse on an afternoon, most of our GA members don’t listen to individual folks (unless we are $ donors), and frankly, they don’t listen anyway (take the evergreen contract).

      What you say is micromanagement is for me at least a healthy check in a state that only cares at the state level on the urban schools and doesn’t have a functioning department of education to boot.

      Second, many charter schools with only one or two/three schools are considered “independent school districts”, unlike HI where they fall under the single districts. Hence, they skew the stats.

      But I would say if you want to point out # of districts, NH with only about 15% more students has 400% more school districts, about the same overall % of state funding (35%) and a higher admin/pupil ratio than RI? Does anyone say NH is micromanaged?

      But Ken – I would say perhaps you should point out how HI runs it police and fire; it’s been 20 years since I lived there, but isn’t the police and fire on Oahu just *1* department each? In other words, there is no “state” nor “local” police, just county police and fire? Isn’t that why property taxes are lower?

      You never hear folks in RI say why can’t we just have county police or fire (especially fire since most fire calls are EMS)..yet somehow they want to blame education on “micro” level organization.

      The point in RI is not the micromanagement, it’s just the poor management. C;mon, PPSD has gotten $1B in state aid in the last 6 years and 50% of the state wide school bond money ($50B in two years) to date and yet has schools not up to code?

      You really think the state is going to do any better? and unless things have changed since I was there, HI public schools aren’t the poster example to use as a model for large centralization.

    • Joe Smith

      Ken – your statistics are not correct and your comparison between HI and RI is flawed.

      Second point first. HI’s K-12 education is funded 90% by state and 8% by the federal government; hence your local property tax is small because hardly any is needed for education, which is the biggest single item generally for any locality, even for places like Providence where 65% of the funding is state. Your most apt comparison is Central Falls and that is run by the state (and with about the same results as you see in HI..)

      My municipality funds 80% of the schools – why shouldn’t my local council and committee have most of the say – especially since those are folks I can easily reach out and touch and are accountable locally every 2/4 years? Most of us either can’t get to the statehouse on an afternoon, most of our GA members don’t listen to individual folks (unless we are $ donors), and frankly, they don’t listen anyway (take the evergreen contract).

      What you say is micromanagement is for me at least a healthy check in a state that only cares at the state level on the urban schools and doesn’t have a functioning department of education to boot.

      Second, many charter schools with only one or two/three schools are considered “independent school districts”, unlike HI where they fall under the single district. Hence, they skew the RI stats.

      But I would say if you want to point out # of districts, NH with only about 15% more students has 400% more school districts, about the same overall % of state funding (35%) and a higher admin/pupil ratio than RI? Does anyone say NH is micromanaged?

      But Ken – I would say perhaps you should point out how HI runs it police and fire; it’s been 20 years since I lived there, but isn’t the police and fire on Oahu just *1* department each? In other words, there is no “state” nor “local” police, just county police and fire? Isn’t that why property taxes are lower?

      You never hear folks in RI say why can’t we just have county police or fire (especially fire since most fire calls are EMS)..yet somehow they want to blame education on “micro” level organization.

      The point in RI is not the micromanagement, it’s just the poor management. C;mon, PPSD has gotten $1B in state aid in the last 6 years and 50% of the state wide school bond money ($50B in two years) to date and yet has schools not up to code?

      You really think the state is going to do any better? and unless things have changed since I was there, HI public schools aren’t the poster example to use as a model for large centralization.

  • ritaxednorep

    I just noticed that our esteemed leaders are written about in today’s Wall Street Journal’s editorial page. Their calling the Providence school system an “Educational Horror Show”

    • Jimmy Adams

      Rhode Islanders will complain, but will re-elect the same idiots who created these problems. That is why I am leaving in 2 years.

    • Joe Smith

      From Boston Globe – The governor is scheduled to attend the invite-only convention from Tuesday until Friday, where her aides say she’ll be pursuing economic development opportunities.

      Should say “pursuing economic development opportunities for *her*

  • Jimmy Adams

    This state began to go downhill in 1935 when democrats seized control of the state in an unethical and unlawful take-over. They have dominated ever since consequently resulting in corruption, high taxes, significant social services spending, and powerful unions. I’m not suggesting that republicans can easily fix all of these issues, but lets at least try to achieve some balance in the system.
    It’s quite obvious that the democrat party wants its constituents to rely on government by pandering to minorities and people here illegally. Also by painting conservatives as racist and fascists, which is a joke. But republicans are too stupid, or, too afraid, to put the gloves on and set the level straight. If I remember my history correctly, in 1865’sh 80% of the democrats were opposed to the abolition of slavery and the inclusion of a 13th amendment. . ..

Quantcast