This morning, I noted that legislators are the only people in Rhode Island who can promise workers a 10% increase in pay without worrying about where the money will come from. It just magically appears in their imaginations. At noon, I suggested that Rhode Islanders should be embarrassed that their state is so dependent on federal government welfare.
The state government’s latest revenue and caseload conference estimated that the government’s revenue will fall $52 million from fiscal 2016 to fiscal 2018. And during the budget process, last year, the state expected that deficits would climb $40-60 million per year, hitting $333 million by 2021.
So how in the world does Democrat Governor Gina Raimondo state the following — and get away with it in G. Wayne Miller’s Providence Journal article — while promising the new $30 million expense of giving all Rhode Islanders two free years of college at a state institution?
We have the money. This is affordable. It’s a smart solution.
It’s a vote-buying giveaway pure and simple that counts on Rhode Islanders’ not noticing that they’re paying the bill. It’s an insult to our intelligence.
Moreover, we should expect that the estimated cost is laughably low. Given free tuition, more families will use the colleges and university, and the institutions will surely increase their tuition rates once the cost to the decision makers (students and their families) is zilch (or half-price, for four-year degrees). And this doesn’t even get into the governor’s assumptions that people who have no financial skin in the game for their degrees will actually take their studies seriously and apply themselves and that those who do will stay in the state rather than taking their subsidized degrees to states that actually have healthy economies.
One can only hope that Rhode Islanders aren’t so far gone, at this point, that they fall for the governor’s snake oil sale.