Economy RSS feed for this section
lighthouseandbridge-featured

Public Policy Solutions To Restore Rhode Island’s Financial Security in COVID-19 Crisis

If we rely on American innovation in the private sector, our state can weather this horrible COVID-19 crisis! Our Center has ten proactive policy ideas that can help Ocean State businesses and families survive the crisis, while also paving the way to recovery. And, we need your help to tell lawmakers you want them to take action.

State lawmakers must find a way to get back in the saddle, demonstrate calm and deliberate leadership, and consider emergency legislation to help our citizens and businesses lead the way back. We’re recommending:

changinggears-logo-featured

Changing Gears, 3/21/20

On Saturday, March 21, 2020, Changing Gears hosts Mike  Collins and Chris Maxwell offered a different view on Ocean State goings on and beyond!

  • Governor’s 2A Executive Order extends background check from 7 to 30 days.
  • Bob Duva of R.I. Echo checks in.
  • Mike Stenhouse: which path is state going to take to get out of this
    crisis? Time for “government distancing.”
  • Rob Cote: cities cut services but, unlike private sector, no layoffs.
  • Don Culp with tips for staying focused and mentally strong.
  • Scumbag US senators dump stocks during national crisis.
  • Bring manufacturing back to US.

Listen to “Changing Gears 3/21/20″ on Spreaker.

RI-laborforce-employment-covid19recession-hypothetical-featured

Decisions and Consequences in a Mortal Life

A Rhode Island family has a child with a disease that requires pretty significant daily treatments and an increased concern about illnesses like the flu.  After receiving the diagnosis, they increased their household emphasis on hygiene, cleanliness, exercise, and health and battled with tricky questions about longevity and quality of life.

When do you pull a child out of school?  What sort of activities can you no longer do?  Water parks might definitely be out, per the doctor, but what about trampoline parks and that sort of thing?  That is for each family to decide.

This year, the child is in a grade that traditionally takes an extended class field trip, which has been a source of anxiety for the parents for months, or even years.  The early weeks of attention to COVID-19 put a sharper point on that anxiety, and it was looking more and more likely that they would have to speak the difficult “no.”

In such circumstances, it might be natural for parents to feel a little bit of guilty relief when they don’t have to say, “no,” because the event itself is canceled.  But circumstances have moved well past that.  The final, decisive end of hope for the trip was closure of the century-old Rhode Island travel company that handled the arrangements from its Cumberland office.

The company opened its doors in 1926.  It survived the Great Depression, World War II, the stagflation of the 1970s, the dot-com bubble, and the Great Recession.  In the face of COVID-19, the announcement on the website of Conway Tours gives the impression that the owners have no plans to re-open or try to start things up again when the wave of this virus has passed.

Without doubt, travel agencies are uniquely vulnerable to the recession that we now face, but the survival of other businesses and industries that live a bit farther from the cliff’s edge will depend on how we, as a society, respond to the crisis. It’s still too early to know what the best response is, right now, but we have to remain mindful that none of our reactions is without a trade-off.

Recent public debates have renewed over the old conflict between security and freedom, but the question is deeper than that.  Civilizations have to make decisions that balance longevity and quality of life, too, because every life begins with a diagnosis of its end.  That is nothing new, and nothing unique to any given family.

notfornothinbutrhodeislanddoesntheedwarningsverywell-featured

Government-Distancing Can Help Keep Rhode Islanders Safe And At Work

We see the federal government considering bold ways to keep businesses running and money in people’s pockets. Here in Rhode Island, we’re calling on lawmakers to provide online sales tax relief to residents concerned about their physical and financial health.

Our state must do its part… The government-distancing we are recommending can help people remain at home and practice healthy social-distancing. Every sales tax dollar saved might be vitally important to families who are suffering a loss of income during these trying times.

truckstop-featured

A Crisis-Related Lesson from Truckers

This story seems to me to be not only an important issue of its own accord, but also a good lesson in the dangers of government overreaction to crisis:

As the United States gradually shuts down in a bid to slow the spread of the coronavirus, the trucking and tire industry is appealing to the government to allow gas stations, rest stops, and repair facilities to remain open to keep deliveries rolling.

Pennsylvania’s Department of Transportation, for example, shut down all of its rest areas and welcome centers to the public on Tuesday. On Wednesday, it agreed to reopen the parking lots at nearly half of them at the request of truckers and the Trump administration.

Other states are considering similar closures, officials said, to try to prevent the spread of the highly contagious virus and discourage people from traveling.

The government isn’t in an especially good position — and politicians aren’t particularly well suited — to foresee unintended consequences and adequately weight them on an individualized basis.  Ensure that the public is informed, and let people make their own decisions.  Those who exist in critical supply chains see their importance and will evaluate their own risk-reward balance.

Truckers’ stopping at rest stops is a particularly direct example, but the principle runs through our entire economy.

changinggears-logo-featured

Changing Gears, 3/14/20

On Saturday, March 14, 2020, Changing Gears hosts Mike  Collins and Chris Maxwell offered a different view on Ocean State goings on and beyond!

  • The link to Joe Biden’s coronavirus plan starts w/campaign donation page.
  • Coronavirus dangers, overreaction, political one-upsmanship & impact on RI businesses.
  • Len Lardaro’s compelling remarks about what RI officials are still not doing to grow the state’s economy.
  • Truckers file request for preliminary injunction to stop RI’s collection of truck tolls.

Listen to “Changing Gears 3/14/2020″ on Spreaker.

depetroshow-logo-featured

Politics This Week with John DePetro: They Value What They Promote

My weekly call-in on John DePetro’s WNRI 1380 AM/95.1 FM show, for March 9, included talk about:

  • Unionist Pat Crowley’s promotion.
  • More grand jurying around the speaker.
  • Gina and her endorsements.
  • Minimum wage.
  • Anti-Second Amendment tax honesty.

I’ll be on again Monday, March 16, at 12:00 p.m. on WNRI 1380 AM and I-95.1 FM.

ironworkers-featured

Reduce Roadblocks Prohibiting Meaningful Work

In 2018, our Center published one of our most comprehensive policy briefs, The Right To Earn, which highlighted Rhode Island’s bottom-10 standing when it comes to over-regulation and the need for across the board occupational licensing reform. The Ocean State has also recently been ranked as having the worst state business climate in all of America.

Since then, we have been encouraged that reforms continue to move forward based on our report on the heavy burdens of “occupation licensing” laws in the state.

2019RIFreedomIndex-VoteIndex-featured

The 2020 Rhode Island General Assembly Bill Tracker – A Handy Way to Track the G.A.

Are state lawmakers helping to make Rhode Island a better or worse place to raise a family and build a career?

With Rhode Island already ranking a dismal 47th on the Jobs & Opportunity Index and with the worst business climate in America, the Center tracks critical pieces for legislation making their way through the Rhode Island General Assembly and what they will do to your freedom.

We evaluate bills in terms of their likely effect on the free market, the size and scope of government, the balance of residents’ interests against those of public employees and beneficiaries, and the constitutional structure of a divided government with limited power over the people whom it represents.

It is the core tenet of the Center that with greater freedom comes greater prosperity, or conversely, as is the case in the Ocean State, that a continued loss of freedom leads to the type of economic stagnation that Rhode Islanders have suffered from over the past decade.

We encourage you to follow along with us as we track the 2020 General Assembly session. Click on the link here to see our 2020 Bill Tracker.

stateofthestate-casimiro-vellawilkinson-legislation-021020-featured

Casimiro and Vella-Wilkinson on Pending Legislation

Guests: Julie Casimiro, State Representative, H-D 31, rep-Casimiro@rilegislature.gov
Camille Vella-Wilkinson, State Representative, H-D 21, rep-vella-wilkinson@rilegislature.gov
Host: Richard August
Topic: Vaping and other pending legislation
Host: Richard August Time: 60 minutes
Representatives Casimiro and Vella-Wilkinson discuss a broad range of pending legislation and other matters, which have their concern. Topics include vaping legislation; a veteran joint oversight committee; pharmacist having birth control prescription authority; reproductive health; firearm legislation; climate control; out of school time learning; early parole for young rehabilitated offenders; military sexual assault trauma; and more. Other matters include the need for a constitutional convention; line item veto; minimum wage; and candidate endorsements.

notareflectionofthestatehouse-featured

The Independent Man Needs YOU: Consider This Call To Civic Action

Is it time for you to get involved… to save our state? If we are ever going to change the policies that are driving away families and crippling businesses, the sad truth, my friend, is that we are going to have to change the players.

Rhode Island’s political class is so beholden to so many special interest groups and agendas, that they are paralyzed when it comes to considering common-sense, pro-growth policy reforms.

notjustaprettyplacetopassthrough-featured

Q & A On TCI, The Transportation & Climate Initiative

Q. What is TCI?

The Transportation & Climate Initiative (TCI) is a multi-state regional agreement designed to drive up the price of motor fuel (gasoline and on-road diesel). As a regressive tax, the TCI Gas Tax will disproportionately harm low-income families, especially those who live some distance from commercial centers or their workplace.

stateofthestate-gray-tci-012720-featured

State of the State: Terrence Gray on TCI

Guest: Terrence Gray, Deputy Director, RI Dept. Environment Management, dem.ri.gov
Host: John Carlevale Time: 30 minutes
TCI is a multi-state effort of transportation, energy and environmental agencies to work collaboratively to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through fees. The model is a “cap and invest” approach which Gray explains will generate revenue which will be invested in more environmentally friendly systems to cut greenhouse gasses. The challenging question is: Will these fees levied at the petroleum produces increase the cost of gasoline and diesel fuel?

SRBtoll-featured

Tolls: What Happened to Gina Raimondo’s Promise to Hold off on Gantries Until After Lawsuit?

As public attention understandably turns to legal developments in the toll case and the very visible construction of toll gantries around the state, it is important to note how the governor explicitly broke her word on the critical matter of when toll gantries would go up and highlight the heavy financial consequences to which she has needlessly exposed Rhode Island residents with this completely unprincipled volte-face.

taleoftwocities-thebastille

Rhode Island Brakes on the American Dream

In today’s Providence Journal, I contrast the difference between national economic policies and what we put up with in the Ocean State:

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Making America great, making Rhode Island worse. Facing the real world, living in a pretend world.

The contrast could not be more striking. Recently in Davos, Switzerland, despite impeachment distractions, President Trump systematically laid out America’s successful roadmap to unprecedented freedom and prosperity, with trillions in investment dollars and a flood of companies choosing to repatriate to America.

Conversely, Rhode Island’s political class follows a government-centric command-and-control approach, resulting in the worst business climate in the nation as well as economic and educational stagnation that is forcing families and businesses to choose to flee our state.

sten-regionalTCImeeting-jan2020-featured

We’re Backing The TCI Gas Tax Proponents Into a Corner

It is not by accident that the proposed Transportation & Climate Initiative (TCI) is losing support among many of the states it has targeted… to the point where some proponents are considering a Plan-B.

Last week, I traveled to Boston to meet with other organizations from east coast states who oppose TCI, a regional compact targeting 12 states and Washington DC that seeks to impose a 5 to 17 cent per gallon tax on gasoline and diesel fuel, with the intent of forcing Rhode Island to drive less often and into more costly and less convenient electric vehicles and public transportation options.

TivertonOnTrack-logo-featured

Trying to Keep Perspective on Local Politics

In President Trump’s economic speech in Davos, he attributes the recent economic strength of the United States to policies that put “the American worker” at their center.  Agree or disagree with the president (from any of the angles at which it would be possible to do so), he raises an important point.  We tend to get caught up in our preferred solutions or our own interests, to the detriment of our causes and our communities.

Listening to episode 10 of the Tiverton on Track podcast from the Tiverton Taxpayers Association, titled “Living in (And Budgeting for) a Community,” one hears that theme sneak in repeatedly.

depetroshow-logo-featured

Political Monday with John DePetro: Budgets and Politics

My weekly call-in on John DePetro’s WNRI 1380 AM/95.1 FM show, for January 20, included talk about:

  • The governor’s budget (and popularity)
  • The speaker’s interest in the Convention Center
  • The women’s march
  • Big money state jobs, especially corrections

I’ll be on again Monday, January 27, at 12:00 p.m. on WNRI 1380 AM and I-95.1 FM.

TaxFoundation-GasTaxJuly2019-featured

A State That Doesn’t Need to Raise Gas Taxes

With the advocates for the Transportation & Climate Initiative (TCI) now revving up for their cause, and with Democrat Governor Gina Raimondo remaining intrepid in her desire to push Rhode Islanders out of their cars for the good of the planet, Ocean Staters might wonder where we stand already on the gas tax.  Fortunately, the American Petroleum Institute has compiled information on all states’ gas taxes, and the Tax Foundation provides this useful map:

TaxFoundation-GasTaxJuly2019

 

Taking note that none of these numbers includes $18.40 added per gallon by the federal government, we can say that Rhode Island is most definitely not in need of new taxes on this basic fuel.  If the TCI tax were to be implemented at the 17-cent high that has been cited, the Ocean State would rocket to 4th highest.

confidence-man-featured

The Political Class Plans To Harm Rhode Island In 2020

The more freedoms we have, the more prosperity we will enjoy. The constitutional government of our great nation was formed to preserve our freedoms. But in the Ocean State, we reduce freedoms … and we suffer the consequences.

As the 2020 General Assembly Session begins, and we are once again looking at even more of status quo (or worse) based on the policy agenda from the political class, when will Rhode Islanders say enough is enough?

Instead of focusing on the real issues harming the business climate of our state… the insiders are looking to restrict the rights of citizens by stopping the use of plastic straws and bags. Give me a break.