Moving Rhode Island Toward Independence

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With RI Taxpayers’ Larry Girouard wondering “what’s working?” in Rhode Island, I can’t help but turn my eyes toward Maine.  Via the RI Taxpayers’ daily email:

In the fall of 2014, conservative Maine Gov. Paul LePage – who has run on a promise of welfare reform – started new work rules for food-stamp recipients that mandated any adult without children and who’s able to work must do so at least part time, participate in job-training programs or volunteer to receive food stamp benefits.

“We have to make sure that our focus is on food stamps and other welfare programs being a last resort, not a way of life, and that we’re promoting employment,” Mary Mayhew, the commissioner of Maine’s Department of Health and Human Services, tells the Examiner.

Politicians in RI like to make a big deal about the unemployment rate (because it’s so flawed it actually makes it look like Rhode Island has been recovering), but how significant can that statistic be when the number of people on food stamps (or SNAP) remains 100,000 greater than at the start of the recession?  In order for Rhode Island to really find something that works, it’s going to have to resist the urge to become a company state and stop creating barriers to people’s self improvement and fulfillment.

Top down plans to bring in more elites to tell us how to live isn’t going to do it.



  • Guest

    Most people in RI double dip. Work under the table and collect. The people who legitimately need assistance are told they don’t qualify. The role of gov’t should be to administer programs to the public efficiently at a low cost and protect the taxpayers from fraud. Taxpayers should view gov’t as a “vendor” who we hire to administer these programs.

  • Art

    Great post. I greatly admire the Maine governor for his much-needed action. In many ways our state (about 40% of the state’s budget is devoted to social service programs) is set up to be a welfare recipient of the federal government — including job handouts to cronies who run the state bureaucracies that dole out the social services benefits. It’s no way to run a state. I’m excited that we may be able to elect a reformer outsider for president in November who can work to get America back to work and on a path to prosperity. Then our state could be forced to get on the same path — to the benefit of all.

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