As it turned out, the study estimated that raising the gas tax would create even more jobs — 6,656 jobs over 10 years — than tolling alone, and $22 million more in gross domestic product.
REMI finds that government spending boosts the economy. It’s assumptions virtually guarantee that outcome. The question of tolls versus taxes, or trucks versus everybody, is simply a political calculation.
Second, the Rhode Works proposal calls for borrowing $600 million. Is it really a surprise that an economic model would find a half-billion-dollar boost to the economy? If you cash in a balance transfer check from your credit card, that’s free money in you pocket… until it isn’t free. At some point, it becomes a consideration that the state will be paying almost as much in borrowing costs. That initial boost will wind up costing $1,154.9 million.
Rhode Islanders have every reason to overrule a one-month study for which they paid $50,000 and say that more government revenue is not the answer.