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If “Misinformation” is the New Standard, Rhode Island’s General Treasurer Must Step Down Immediately

This morning on the WPRO Morning News with Gene Valicenti – link to audio – General Treasurer Seth Magaziner elaborated on his call for Rhode Island Representative Justin Price to resign from the House of Representatives for spreading misinformation, saying

When elected officials use their platforms to spread (mis)information, to spread lies, they have to be called out for it.”

And

…as elected officials, we should be held to a higher standard …

Interesting. Alright, check out this analysis from August, 2018 by Mike Riley.

In assessing the effort to keep the PawSox in Rhode Island, it is important to review the role of General Treasurer Seth Magaziner. The state treasurer was asked to analyze the costs and opine on affordability, as would be expected with a large borrowing like this. Mr. Magaziner opined in October 2017 and in June 2018 as numbers changed along with the terms of the deal and then opined again recently, finally giving a nod to the deal.

But what everyone needs to know is that $350 million dollars in debt for Pawtucket’s other post-employment benefits (OPEB) for former employees was not used in his analysis. This is more than twice the city’s pension debt! In fact, it was purposely left out by Magaziner. Including OPEB debt would obviously have made the City of Pawtucket’s borrowing look dangerous and ill-conceived. … This $350 million is so significant and overwhelming, it would be irresponsible for any treasurer to think Pawtucket absorbing new debt was a good idea.

Well, that’s an eye-opener. Nice work by Mike Riley catching that serious piece of misinformation by General Treasurer Magaziner. Ultimately, the PawSox left Rhode Island and these ill-conceived, unaffordable bonds were never issued. But that was very much despite this substantive misinformation that Treasurer Magaziner issued about Pawtucket’s financial condition.

Now, it is absurd to call on an elected official to step down due to a statement of misinformation; in part, because it falls into a broader category of free speech and, in part, because about three quarters of all elected officials in the country would instantly have to step down. (I heard that; stop cheering!).

But that is the position of General Treasurer Seth Magaziner.

I do agree with him when he says, as he did this morning, that “As Americans, we all have a duty to speak up when we see people in positions of authority spreading misinformation” and that elected officials “should use our platforms responsibly”. Via this post, accordingly, I am fulfilling that duty. Specifically, I am calling out Mr. Magaziner for a piece of misinformation that is especially egregious because he communicated it in his capacity as the state’s General Treasurer in an analysis about a major financial decision facing a municipality and the state.

Clearly, Mr. Magaziner did not use his platform as General Treasurer responsibly by including misinformation in this important analysis. Now, I myself am not calling on him to resign as the state’s General Treasurer for this. But by his own standard, he must do so immediately. Referring once again to Mr. Magaziner’s own words on WPRO this morning, elected officials have a duty to tell people the truth, to be honest. He failed notably to do so.

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TCI: The Next Step in Government by Fiat

The governor gave herself unprecedented power to make us do and not do things for our own good (from her perspective) with COVID-19, and there was never any reason to believe she would restrict that philosophy to the pandemic if she could get away with pushing the envelope. Well… she’s pushing the envelope.

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Clay Johnson: Let Us Be Thankful

We are living through one of the most peaceful times in human history. Given the tumult of 2020, it is easy to lose perspective. The number of people living in poverty is plummeting – globally. And even with a pandemic raging, we are seeing extraordinary advances in our ability to fight disease. Whether together or apart, we will soon see the arrival of Thanksgiving – a pause to give thanks, and maybe gain some perspective.

Before we arrive at this pause, we have an election to endure. The Gaspee Project board is committed to advocating for free market principles and supporting conservative candidates. These principles lead to more freedom. Freedom leads to prosperity (jobs). History has shown this to be true.

Conservatives believe in the individual rights and a free society. This is why private property and a limited government are so important.

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Steve Laffey Jumps in for Gaspee Project – and Rhode Island

From a just-issued press release by Gaspee Project Chairman Clay Johnson:

Steve Laffey, the former Mayor of Cranston, has volunteered his time and voice to bolster an ad blitz for The Gaspee Project in the final week of the 2020 campaign season.

Laffey’s has recorded a radio spot and multiple robo-call ads that will run this week in support of 8 General Assembly candidates and the Republican party. In the spots, Laffey stresses how the Democrat party is no longer the party of JFK and has been taken-over by radical-left mobs, while the Republican party is still the party of Lincoln and stands for common-sense, pro-jobs policies.

Also this week, a second round of mailers, social media ads, and print ads by Gaspee are expected to run, which in combination with previous Gaspee election materials, will reach almost one-hundred thousand households, social media accounts, print ad readers, and radio listeners.

Thanks very much to Steve Laffey for doing this. He understands, as many of us do, that Rhode Island would be very poorly served by the election of far left, “progressive” candidates who will push to put on steroids the misguided, leftie policies that have already damaged the state: raising of taxes (often disguised as fees, tolls and budget scooping) even higher; ratcheting up of already burdensome regulations (that often pose as a redundant effort at diversity) on business; more encroachment on private property rights; and the cramming down of effectively non-existent, exorbitantly expensive, politically correct energy sources.

(Seriously, “progressive policies” has to be one of the biggest oxymorons in the history of political branding.)

If you are alarmed at the prospect of the expansion of these non-progressive policies in Rhode Island, please consider pushing back by donating to the Gaspee Project to bolster the reach of these radio ads and mailers.

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Use Your Voice – Huge Deficits Cannot be Plugged with Even Higher Taxes

Before the coronavirus crisis… the Ocean State was already hemorrhaging people, because of its existing cruel business climate. Now, Rhode Islanders cannot afford tax hikes to plug huge projected budget deficits.

Lawmakers are being pressured by public sector unions and the radical far left movement to put the burden on you… and to raise your taxes. That’s why the Center has launched a new counter campaign to the government-union led effort to raise taxes in RI. Take action now.

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Raimondo Rips out Goalposts Altogether as Governors Carefully Disregard Most Important Datapoint

As you probably know, the original justification for the COVID-19 lockdown was to prevent the overwhelming of hospitals. This never happened; not in Rhode Island nor in any state other than hotspot New York (where it got close); not even at the height of the pandemic. Click here to view Justin Katz’ latest, very informative tracking graph of COVID-19 trends in Rhode Island. You’ll note that hospitalizations in Rhode Island, in fact, peaked THREE WHOLE MONTHS AGO.

Keep this critical piece of information in mind as we move now to Rhode Island’s COVID-19 press conference yesterday.

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Union Political Spending: A Web of Corruption

Not every teacher, first-responder, clerk, or other public servant considers themselves to be Democrats or part of the “progressive-left” movement in Rhode Island. Yet every employee who is member of a government union in our state is paying dues that directly support this extreme political agenda… along with the corrupt quid quo pro that comes with union political spending. A new report, from our Center, exposes that Rhode Island’s hyper-partisanship and radical agenda is funded by government union political spending: Click Here Now To Read It.

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Death Arrives – Lockdowns Now Demonstrably Indefensible

The survival rate for COVID-19 is now in the range of 99.35% – 99.74%, per CDC data. But even this high rate is almost certainly on the conservative side as it does not include all unidentified cases, an important data point which scientists continue diligently to try to quantify.

Moreover, COVID cases are rising but COVID deaths are falling.

Conversely, grimly, deaths from the lockdown have moved from projection to reality and are rising.

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Roland Benjamin: $23,000/Student is Already More than Sufficient Funding

I have been close to these budgets. Very close.

A “lack of funding” cannot be the culprit for every decision from local officials that change services or reconsider programming. When a 1% or 2% fiscal nudge in anything is blamed, I seriously question the competence and/or the integrity of those using the argument.

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Ideals that Make America and Rhode Island Strong

Have a happy and proud Independence Day weekend. Now is the time to celebrate America’s great and noble ideals. Sadly in the Ocean State, the political class has taken too much from hard-working Rhode Island families and businesses. The chosen few have benefited from the broken system, while the rest of us have suffered.

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Summer Budget Battle: Status Quo Approach Will Not Work

Enough is enough. For too long, the political class has taken more than what they needed from hard-working Rhode Island families and businesses. The chosen few have benefited from the broken insider system, while the rest of us have suffered. Now, Rhode Island lawmakers will return this summer, and decide the fate of our state for a century to come.

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New Report Lays Out a Budget Strategy for Rhode Island Prosperity

With about one-billion dollars in anticipated revenue shortfalls, and with recent statements from leading Rhode Island lawmakers indicating a general feeling of helplessness, the Rhode Island Center for Freedom and Prosperity published a new report this week with proven budget strategies that can help put the state on a long-term trajectory towards prosperity.

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Clay Johnson: Officials Forgetting Foundational Importance of Hum of Running Economy

I applaud the decision makers, at all levels of government, that quickly responded to the medical crisis. But health issues only represent one component of the challenges in front of us. We all hunkered down for weeks to ‘flatten the curve.’ Our common goal was to ensure that, as a community, we had enough hospital beds for those most vulnerable. Well, we’ve flattened the curve. (And we know now that the survival rate of COVID-19 in the United States is almost 95%.) Why then are governments having a hard time moving to the next stage during this time of testing? I can only believe that most people were more familiar with the fears and responses to the medical side of the crisis.

Let’s explore the impact on small businesses. Almost half of all employees in the United States work for a small business. In fact, 96% of Rhode Island businesses are small businesses. They are the engine of our economy. Business owners can feel in their bones, the impact of this shutdown on Rhode Island. We owe it to the rest of the citizens of Rhode Island to communicate this feeling.