Lawmakers must understand that the people of Rhode Island are demanding that we move in a different direction. As the General Assembly session comes to a close, we have seen another year where the insiders ignore the voice of the people and continue to further their own special interest laden agenda. The big spending in the state budget must end, the backroom deals must end, and the public corruption must end if we are ever to see our state become prosperous again. Rhode Island families are being harmed by the lack of opportunity created by the elitists and the failed public policy culture.
What does the average family have to cheer about in this budget? The few provisions that offer minor relief to some are overwhelmingly outweighed by the huge special interest and corporate welfare spending. Things do not have to be this way. The status quo will continue to drag-down our state economy, unless we adopt the pro-family free market policies that will transform our state. This budget is once again more of the same, without the required broad based tax reforms needed to jump-start our troubled economy. Now is the time to demand more.
Only when the total relief package is bigger than new spending can we claim that Rhode Island is heading in the right direction. Rhode Island has lost 3900 jobs. Think of all the families that are being hurt by the political class and their insider culture. As the Center measured with our monthly Jobs & Opportunity Index (JOI), the Ocean State is not as prosperous as they want us to think. The Rhode Island economy keeps striking out, when evaluated on a broader playing field, trapped at 48th on the JOI. You deserve better than a losing team.
There are, of course, better solutions than the big spending in the state budget. It is time to end the insider culture where the little guy suffers. How many of us would say that the status quo public policy culture in Rhode Island is making anything easier on the average family? For too long, the political elites have only looked out for their cronies, and made it harder for new family businesses to take hold here in the Ocean State. Rhode Island needs to change. I encourage you to speak out against the insiders that further their own interests above the will of the people.
[Mike Stenhouse is the CEO of the RI Center for Freedom and Prosperity.]