By way of a follow-up to yesterday’s post about Spencer Dickinson’s play for some press coverage, I note that the Providence Journal did send a reporter outside its door to cover his press conference. However, I can’t say the reported substance of his presentation is very encouraging:
“The topic is this: National rankings by respected financial publications. They’re bad. And year after year, they don’t get better. They probably discourage some good businesses from coming here. What would you do about it?
“We need a program to deal with it,” Dickinson said.
If Rhode Island wants better grades in the rankings, he said, someone needs to go consult the professors and figure out how to improve performance.
The thing is, Rhode Island politicians have already tried analyzing the the rankings, when the state Senate investigated “moving the needle,” and it didn’t fix anything. Elected officials attempted to game the rankings, rather than unleash the economy, and they tweaked some tax rates while increasing overall taxation.
We don’t “need a program.” We need a statement of principle and the willingness to pursue it, and that statement of principle needs to be that government should get out of the way. Dickinson’s campaign Web site doesn’t provide any additional details about how he proposes to move the economic needle, but based on the issues that he does emphasize, his approach would be entirely wrong, amounting to more government in the way.