Governor’s 2019-20 Budget: The Rhode to Serfdom


The RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity’s statement on the governor’s budget:

Providence, RI — Instead of seeking to shape Rhode Island’s future with the proven ideals of a free-society, Governor Raimondo’s proposed 2019-2020 budget is a stunning departure from America’s core values and, instead, would put our state on a “Rhode to Serfdom,” according to the RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity.

With the Ocean State doomed to lose a US Congressional seat because of its hostile tax, educational, and business environment, which chases away wealth, families, and businesses, the policies presented in the Governor’s budget would make matters far worse.

“Just yesterday, I attended a thoughtful lecture by the chief economist for JP Morgan Chase at an event hosted by the RI Society of CPAs. His message was that economic growth is the best path to achieve prosperity and to manage deficits … not raising taxes and not necessarily cutting spending,” commented Mike Stenhouse, the Center’s CEO. “However, this Governor’s regressive budget points us 180 degrees in the opposite direction and would stifle any opportunity for growth. Ocean Staters are clearly being forced down a Rhode to serfdom.”

With new government-imposed health insurance mandates that will further burden already distressed families as well as employers who are already suffering from one of the worst business climates in the nation, and along with a bevy of new taxes and fees that will further restrain economic growth, the proposed budget takes a giant step backwards towards a centrally-planned society, where government controls more and more aspects of our lives. The entire country is thriving, economically, from reduced government intrusion into our lives, but these progressive-left policies would increase dependency on government.

The proposed Medicaid tax on businesses and the individual mandate are particularly egregious. Each would serve as yet another reason for large employers and families to stay away from Rhode Island. It is oppressive that the government would seek to punish employers for not compensating their workers how the government wants them to; or to punish individuals not being able to afford the high-cost insurance resulting from the government created Obamacare mandates.

“For the better part of a decade, the State has encouraged and bragged about the number of people enrolled in Medicaid with taxpayer funded ads, and now she wants to make businesses pay for it,” cynically question the Center’s research director, Justin Katz.

Equally disturbing, the budget contains no meaningful remedies to the many problems that plague our state, such as high taxes across the board, high energy and healthcare costs, and onerous regulatory burdens on job-producers.

“On top of her irresponsible new spending proposals, clearly designed to benefit special-interest unions, the reliance on SIN taxes to pay for these schemes will tear at the cultural fabric of our society,” continued Stenhouse. “The continued attacks against legal firearms owners and smokers, along with the unsustainable increase in overall government spending, with its immoral budget scoops, also points Rhode Island back towards a totalitarian form of government that I thought we were done with in America.”

For these reasons and more, Rhode Island suffers from an epidemic of people and businesses fleeing our state. “Maybe it’s time to build our own wall to keep people in,” joked Stenhouse earlier in the week.

The Center again calls on General Assembly leaders to reduce the state’s sales tax, citing existing law that requires such a rate-reduction if certain “internet” taxes are enacted. With the multitude of new sales taxes imposed in recent budgets, the Center maintains that we have essentially reached that legal threshold.

  • ShannonEntropy

    “The Rhode to Serfdom” … very clever, Mike !!

    The basic pra-blem underlying this whole mess you discuss is the mass of Rhodent “sheeple” here who keep re-electing the same people over & over & over again

    I have the misfortune to live in House # 19 — Joe McNamara; & Senate # 31 — Erin Lynch Prata [ neither of whom even has the courtesy to at least acknowledge letters or email ]. Most election cycles they run unopposed

    So in the absence of any fear of their constituents, “O’Sullivan’s Law” naturally takes over

    BTW here is what Hayek himself had to say about the people of Li’l Rhody:

    “Probably it is true enough that the great majority are rarely capable of thinking independently, that on most questions they accept views which they find ready-made, and that they will be equally content if born or coaxed into one set of beliefs or another. In any society freedom of thought will probably be of direct significance only for a small minority.”

    ― Friedrich August von Hayek, The Road to Serfdom

    • Rhett Hardwick

      I had never heard of “O’Sullivan’s Law” but had observed the phenomena. My observations had been that liberals express “love one another” , but hate everyone who disagrees. While I have not lost any close friends since the last election, I have lost a number of “friendlies” to Trump Derangement Syndrome. Previously I had avoided political discussions with them for the obvious reasons, artists, east side residents, Brown affiliated, etc. However, after they went over the edge, I couldn’t respond in the manner expected, or desired. Several antique dealers told me not to return. I haven’t. One that sticks in my mind is a woman who operates a shop in Providence, I had regarded us as friendly. I assume she knew my views but believed she would have the last laugh when Clinton blew Trump away. On the day following the election I stopped in her shop. I found her in tears and enquired. Supposedly, when crossing the street to open her shop a man yelled something to her from a car. Without repeating it, I found it unlikely, non-sensical. She then launched into how this was just the tip of the misogyny we could expect with Trump in the WH. She feared bringing her daughter up in such a society. I thought she was making it up to have a “personal experience”. I still have reason to stop at her shop, but we hardly speak.
      Rhett’s “golden rule” on raising a daughter, which I kept on her mirror:
      Raise your arms;
      Touch your toes;
      If any thing shows;
      Change your clothes.

      • ShannonEntropy

        SHE was worried about “misogyny” ??

        I retired after 24 yrs on the faculty of Brown U and I can assure you that if you walk across the campus wearing a MAGA hat there is at least a 50% chance that you will be literally physically assaulted

        • Rhett Hardwick

          I often attend Wednesday evening lectures at the John Carter Brown library. I understand your point.