No More Blind Eye – General Assembly Must End Corporate Welfare Scam


As Justin notes, Kate Nagle and the GoLocalProv news team have blown the lid off Governor Gina Raimondo’s jobs-to-be-created claim for the $32,000,000 in taxpayer subsidies that she has offered to Wexford.

Governor Gina Raimondo has repeatedly claimed that the $32 plus million in public subsidies will create 1,000 new permanent jobs in Rhode Island. After weeks of requesting information about tenants, rents, and job creation, GoLocal was finally able to secure actual job numbers for the project and then fact check those claims.

In fact, actual jobs created will be closer to 80 to 90, at a cost of more than $32 million.

Yowzah – rounding up to one hundred jobs, that’s a cost to taxpayers of $320,000 per job. Even if GoLocal is off by, say, two thirds and 300 jobs get created, $100,000 per job in hard-earned taxpayer subsidies is still completely indefensible.

This is only the latest, albeit the most expensive, round of jobs brought to or created for Rhode Island via the Governor’s approach of handing out taxpayer largesse. In June, her administration announced that General Electric would bring one hundred jobs to the state at a cost to us of $56,000 per job. And last month, two announcements: Virgin Pulse would be bringing three hundred jobs to Rhode Island at a cost to taxpayers of $5,700,000 and Johnson & Johnson would be creating seventy five jobs at $80,000 a pop. Wheeee! Let the tax dollars flow!

Even if all of these jobs are eventually created, this is a very costly and obviously unsustainable approach to economic development. But the GoLocalProv expose makes it clear that, for the Wexford deal at least, the jobs creation claim is a sham and a scam, and a major one, at that.

Bigger picture, job creation by taxpayer-funded corporate welfare is not economic development. Just the opposite: it actually acts as a drag on the state’s economy because everyone else, businesses and families, has to pick up the tab for such profligate yet ineffective handouts.

Phrased more baldly, this is job creation by public bribery. And the General Assembly can no longer be a party to it.

Corporate welfare in the budget needs to be brought immediately to zero. Further, in light of GoLocalProv’s very troubling expose Friday, the General Assembly needs to request that the Governor’s administration rescind or claw back a significant chunk, if not all, of the $32,000,000 that Wexford is poised to receive, in one form or another, from state taxpayers.

Once real economic development – across-the-board tax and regulation relief – measures are in place, perhaps very limited incentives can be considered on a rare, one-off basis. But unless she sees the light in a blinding fashion that a better business climate, not gobs of corporate welfare, is the way to improve the state’s economy, this cannot be implemented under the supervision of the current Governor. Her track record makes it clear that she is simply not capable of such judicious use of limited incentives. This is why it is imperative for the General Assembly step in, now, on behalf of all Rhode Island businesses, individuals and families, and put an end to what can only be described as very costly and damaging shenanigans.

  • The problem with eliminating corporate welfare, and crony capitalism is that it will drastically reduce the power, and influence of our political “leaders,” not to mention their opportunities for graft, bribery, or similar corruptions.