Content Types


Christmas Divisions Can’t Escape the Clarifying Lunacy of 2017

Look past the usual “Christmas culture war” story and observe how reporting of a controversy works to dismiss everything important about the underlying disagreement.

Rhode Island 49th On The Jobs & Opportunity Index

Rhode Islanders want to prosper in an economic climate that rewards hard work, encourages small-business growth, creates quality jobs, and can lead to a better life for their families. In this regard, the traditionally cited monthly unemployment rate is often used by state lawmakers as a benchmark to evaluate the effectiveness of state economic policy initiatives. However, this rate represents a very narrow glimpse of the employment health of a state and can often paint an incomplete, or even inaccurate, snapshot of the broader economic picture.

Chris Maxwell: RIDOT’s Inadequate Environmental Assessment Intended to Accelerate Toll Bait Lawsuit

[Below are the prepared comments of Chris Maxwell, President of the Rhode Island Trucking Association, for the RIDOT toll gantry workshop Tuesday evening. The video of Chris’ actual comments, abbreviated due to time constraints, can be viewed here. For the sake of the news outlet that erroneously reported that public comment Tuesday night was mostly a re-hash of old objections and omitted all on-topic comments from their story, Ocean State Current has bolded all of Chris’ comments that pertain to the Environmental Assessment that was the subject of Tuesday’s workshop.]

Good evening. My name is Chris Maxwell and I represent the Rhode Island Trucking Association and all local trucking companies adversely affected by truck-only tolls.

Our opposition to this plan from its introduction in the spring of 2015 is well-documented. And despite the justified rancour that still exists, our industry’s willingness to contribute to infrastructure improvement remains steadfast – even beyond our existing contributions which are considerable.

In 2016, the trucking industry in Rhode Island paid roughly $70 million in federal and state roadway taxes.

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October 2017 Employment: Thankful That It Isn’t Even Worse?

There isn’t a whole lot in the October employment results for Rhode Island to brighten the holiday weekend.

September 2017 Employment: Easy Come, Easy Go

With disappointing employment and jobs numbers for September, RI has no longer fully recovered from the recession and may see a large employment revision again in January.

August 2017 Employment: Employment Bubble Deflates & a Loss of JOI

Rhode Island’s employment numbers have done their annual downturn as the state falls the 49th on the Jobs & Opportunity Index (JOI) after five years at 48th.

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Political Monday with John DePetro, No. 38: RI Races for Governor and Senate

For my weekly call-in on John DePetro’s WNRI 1380 AM/95.1 FM show, this week, the topic was the 2018 campaign season, specifically the races for governor and U.S. Senate.

Open post for full audio.

Actual Moral Decision Making on Political Compromises

In assessing how to react to the morally difficult decisions raised by morally compromised politicians, we have fundamental questions to decide.

Rhode Island Needs A “Light Touch” Regulatory Approach

The goal of an effective regulatory strategy should be to ensure that occupational licensing is no more burdensome than needed to address present, significant and substantiated harm.

Under a “light touch” regulatory approach, businesses are freer to develop and produce jobs.

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Investigative Report

DACA and a Back Door to Gubernatorial Favors

Governor Raimondo gets to know who helped fund her DACA-fee-payment campaign, but her office says the public cannot.

General Assembly Lawyers and Political Donations

Lawyers for the General Assembly, many part-time with full health benefits, appear to donate quite a bit to local politicians, particularly the Speaker of the House.

The Weight of Block’s Voter Fraud Report

The significance of Block’s voter-fraud findings depends what numbers one emphasizes, but the most reasonable number for concern is pretty big.

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Longer Twitter

Making Political Hay of Commerce

A Serial Harasser

Is Reality Setting in for the Governor?

Perhaps it’s just the moment and the particular set of issues raised, but a quick-hit Providence Journal interview with Democrat Governor Gina Raimondo feels like a bit of a change in tone, from backing away from legalizing pot to holding back on school construction bonds.

A couple of points are worth teasing out:

“Look,” Raimondo said Tuesday, “I think it would be really sad if we lost the PawSox to Worcester …. But no, I am not going to get into a bidding war. We can’t afford a bidding war. We have a deal on the table now. I would say: Go ahead and pass that deal.”

“I am not going to get bid up, and pay more than we can afford, so we don’t lose it to Charlie Baker,” she said.

This is particularly nice to see.  Rhode Island has lost thousands of residents in recent decades because the state didn’t want, essentially, to bid for them to stay by making it easier to make it in Rhode Island.  Why should a minor league baseball team get better treatment?

Raimondo said her budget proposal will honor the next promised $25-million cut in local car taxes, part of a multi-year phaseout plan lawmakers approved earlier this year.

This is interesting.  Last week on the radio, John DePetro and I had some fun speculating that Democrat Speaker of the House Nicholas Mattiello of Cranston was sending signals to Raimondo.  First, he was seen chatting with her potential Democrat primary foe, Lincoln Chafee, and then his shadow could be seen around the edges of Joe Trillo’s bizarre declaration of his intent to stage a third-party campaign that would almost certainly split the vote against Raimondo.

Holding to the car tax elimination, which the speaker championed, could be a sign that the messages have been received and an agreement struck.

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Interviews & Profiles

Arthur Christopher Schaper: Cicilline’s “Grand Theft Auto” Sanctuary City

Arthur Christopher Schaper asks illegal immigration expert Jessica Vaughn about the consequences of sanctuary city policies under former Providence Mayor David Cicilline.

10 News Conference Wingmen, Episode 46 (Congressional Debates)

Rob Paquin and Bob Plain discuss the candidates for U.S. Congress from Rhode Island (mostly by way of the issues).

10 News Conference Wingmen, Episode 45 (Secretary of State Debate)

Rob Paquin and Bob Plain discuss a debate between candidates for RI Secretary of State and related topics.

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