As the fiscal year comes to a close for the State of Rhode Island and most municipalities in June, it’s ever more clear that civic life in Rhode Island revolves around government budgets. For insiders, town, city, and state budgets represent their hopes and dreams — often their livelihoods. For everybody else, though, they can be a time of dread, as the impossibility of real change is affirmed, cherished programs are threatened (if you’re on that side of the ledger), or more money is confiscated from your bank account (if you’re on the other side of the ledger).
Herewith, a parody song to the tune of “But Beautiful,” inaugurating a somewhat regular new video series, “Katz’s Kitchen Sink,” which will feature whatever sort of content I think might be useful to throw at the problems of the Ocean State — songs, short skits, commentary, or whatever.
A budget’s taxes, or it’s pay
Handouts are credits or giveaways
We’re investing, or we save
Bountiful, our industry’s bureaucracies we run
It’s a budget you have no choice but to fund
A budget appropriates, or it steals
Votes are traded in backroom deals
Nobody’s sure just what’s real
And I’m thinking if I had chips, I’d cash them in for gold
And take them to a more bountiful abode
When a mob of Brown University students brought their politically correct disease down the street to Rhode Island’s State House, they made it near impossible to resist writing a parody song about their symptoms.
Some sympathetic skepticism from Dan Yorke suggests that Justin has work to do persuading people to be concerned about developments in government in Rhode Island (and across the United States).
The events in Ferguson, MO have drawn widespread public attention to the increasing militarization of local police departments. It’s a topic that has been discussed amongst civil–rights minded folks for the last decade or so and has both national and local impact.
Justin liveblogs another commission hearing on eliminating the state sales tax, this time concerning the state’s economic modeling of the proposal and alternatives from the Center for Freedom & Prosperity.
Justin liveblogs from another meeting of the legislative commission to study the elimination of the sales tax.
In this video, I speak out against a new scheme by the Rhode Island Dept. of Environmental Management to acquire farmland at a public comment forum held at the URI Graduate School of Oceanography on September 7, 2016.
With government increasingly influencing and controlling the means of production through myriad tax-credit, loan, and direct-subsidy schemes in a multitude of industries, the DEM farmland acquisition scheme, which will actually acquire and resell private property, is not based on any legitimate economic analysis — or any economic consideration at all.
Despite the fact that the state’s own Commerce Corporation demanded a RhodeMap RI–related mandate be inserted into the DEM plan, no economic justification was provided. The Rhode Island Center for Freedom & Prosperity warned you about the dangers of RhodeMap RI; here is one place where the planners’ vision seems to be marching forward.
As part of its 100-year anniversary self-promotion, the Rhode Island Foundation has been spreading around a video by Nail Communications that is slap-in-the-face offensive. It begins by putting swear words in the mouths of children reading statements from (quote) actual Rhode Islanders; it tells Rhode Islanders to (quote) stop complaining and if they don’t have anything nice to say, well, be quiet.
Let’s be blunt, here. Given Rhode Island’s parade of corrupt officials and its stagnant economy, we would be shirking our responsibility as citizens if we didn’t complain. Now, if Nail Communications were to make another video about the view of Rhode Island’s insiders, it might go something like this.
[Advisory: In keeping with the original Nail Communications/RI Foundation video, the following contains bleeped swears.]
On this episode of “What’s Really In Your Best Interest?” I interview Aimee Gardiner, director of Rhode Islanders Against Mandated HPV Vaccinations, on the movement against the HPV Mandate in the Ocean State. Rhode Island parents deserve the freedom to make private family choices without government involvement. The mandate on the HPV vaccine for Rhode Island students is an important and symbolic violation of our rights.
Recently, the RI DOH undertook a marketing campaign directed at the children of our state. Do you think this is a proper use of taxpayer dollars? The government should include parents in the discussion when dealing with minors, not bypassing our families! This is a very disturbing trend. The #NOHPVmandateRI movement stands to reverse the HPV vaccine mandate in RI. Please watch the new videos of our interview now.
As usual this time of year, the story of Rhode Island’s employment picture depends greatly on whether one expects a large downward revision. For the moment, the employment picture looks brighter than it’s been, although not by much.
It is a result of the failed status quo of increased government intervention in our personal and business lives that the Ocean State ranks so poorly on so many national indexes. It is not acceptable that we rank 50th with the worst business climate in the nation, 48th on the national Family Prosperity Index, and 47th on the Center’s Jobs & Opportunity Index. It is up to voters to review all the data, and decide whether or not to hold lawmakers accountable for their voting records this November. This trend is exemplified by continued deeply negative overall General Assembly scores on our 2016 Freedom Index.
Loaded with information that will be useful to voters this fall, the Freedom Index is part of our larger transparency initiative. The index examines legislators’ votes in terms of their likely effect on the freedom in the Ocean State.
Even when the actions of other people have no immediate affect on us, their being permitted to take them does affect us, as does the process by which we change what we allow and don’t allow.