According to the Rhode Island Family Prosperity Index, “startups aren’t the only thing when it comes to job growth. They’re the only thing.” The only way to incentivize enough start-up activity to make a difference in our state is to create a business climate that is attractive enough to make thousands of entrepreneurs want to invest here. Crony deals for a few dozen companies will not get it done. Average Rhode Island families have been ignored while corporate welfare handouts have benefited the well-connected insiders. It is time to remember the forgotten people of our state.
Soon, we will demonstrate how a major reduction in the sales tax would allow Rhode Islanders to keep more of their hard-earned money. This bold tax cut would produce more economic activity and create thousands of new jobs (at a very low cost per job.) It would disproportionately help low-income families due to the regressive nature of the sales tax. Sales tax reduction would boost municipal revenues, so that cities and towns can reduce the car tax on their own, and would be easy and fair to implement. Sales tax reduction is a win-win-win scenario for Rhode Islanders.
Recently, a leading lawmaker advised me that this kind of thinking would be too much of a shock to the system. Bingo. My complaint for years has been that, as our state ranks so near to last place in so many categories, it is unacceptable to keep to the status quo. A well-planned “shock” to the system is, indeed, warranted. I am looking for state leaders – either lawmakers or civil society leaders – who will work with me to begin this very serious and important conversation.
What Rhode Island needs are bold, broad-based reform ideas: Ideas that will help every existing and would-be business and family. Politicians just saying things are improving in Rhode Island is not enough, they must take action. We need action. Unless they adopt the proven family friendly ideas that can turnaround our state, we will continue to see the negative trends continue. Your voice is strong. This is not the time sit back and just wait for change. By speaking out on the issues, you can demand the big reforms like sales tax that must happen sooner rather than later. The future of our families depend on it.