Gary Sasse tweeted an important point the other day:
Lot of chatter on CNBC ranking RI business worst in USA. Reason not @GinaRaimondo spin, but precipitous drops in quality of life& education
Before agreeing more determinedly, I’d point out that Rhode Island did pretty poorly on the economy score, too, dropping from 136 points (39th in the country) last year to 114 points (45th) this year. But Gary’s right: we did tank by those other measures, too.
In education, Rhode Island fell from 124 points (13th), which was a too-sunny fluke of the methodology, I’d say, to 111 points (20th). This may be what happens when reforms hit (as I’ve been saying) a political ceiling.
As for quality of life, Rhode Island’s drop from 216 points (12th) to 186 points (24th) does seem to correspond with some of the Family Prosperity Index (FPI) results that I’ve mentioned before. If my intuition is correct — that Rhode Islanders who haven’t fled the state have responded in two distinct ways to the decline of their state: either unhealthy behavior or a return to basics like family and faith — CNBC’s methodology appears almost entirely to catch changes in the former, not the latter.