Public Employee Pay and Benefits Draw Historical Comparison with Corruption in Roman Empire

With public sector salaries and benefits continuing to expand at the expense of Rhode Island’s beleaguered taxpayers and business owners, some policy analysts see a historical parallel with the waning days of the Roman Empire. State and local government workers receive a 26.5 percent premium above their private sector counterparts, according to a new study.

12/04/12 – Sakonnet River Bridge Public Hearing, Tiverton

Justin liveblogs from the public hearing on the proposed Sakonnet River Bridge toll at Tiverton High School.

Wind Power Supporters Challenge Allegations in Complaint to Attorney General

Contrary to what was alleged in a complaint filed with Attorney General Peter Kilmartin, the East Bay Energy Consortium (EBEC) has pursued a proposed wind power project in a fiscally responsible, open, and transparent manner, according to some of the government figures named in the complaint.

Wind Power Proponents Advance “Unlawful” Scheme at Taxpayer Expense, AG Complaint Says

RI taxpayers could be on the hook for a costly, unworkable wind power project that lacks and discernible environmental benefits if the East Bay Energy Consortium and its partners in government are permitted to overstep legal boundaries, a complaint with the attorney general claims.

City Politics, Country Politics

Debate around the Internet is beginning to make the city-suburb divide look like a festering battle along ideological lines.

Things We Read Today (27), Wednesday

Campaign finance & incumbents; where the buck stops for the bad economy; Obama follows Chafee on a Commerce Czar; and the storm should be a warning.

Universal Sales Pitches to the Voters on Debt for Affordable Housing

The ballot question on bonds for affordable housing illustrates how too much unanimity among representatives of government, advocacy, and media can lead to incremental deterioration of public policy.

Rep. Mattiello, Sen. Gallo Accused of “Spreading Misinformation” About Sex Offenders and Homeless Service Centers

Now that they are up for re-election, Democratic Majority Leader Nicholas Mattiello and his close ally Sen. Hanna Gallo, also a Democrat, are posturing as forceful advocates for neighborhood safety in Cranston.

Government Debt and the Danger of Historical Growth

Ted Nesi’s suggestion of government borrowing now based on the inevitability of borrowing later is indicative of a deeper problem within a culture accustomed to economic growth.

Why Government as Business Doesn’t Work, at Least in Rhode Island

Economic development difficulties in Rhode Island begin with flawed thinking, and so residents are finding themselves turning to Massachusetts for jobs, housing, and even free-market commentary.

Roger Slocum: Storm of User Fees and Taxes in Newport

Roger Slocum argues that Newport’s costs associated with handling water and making improvements not be pushed through as user fees.

Dispute Over Proposed Shipping Venture in Quonset’s Davisville Port Continues to Rage

The Quonset Development Corp.’s denial of a business plan by Iceland shipper Eimskip sparks controversies, and different explanations of the reasons.

Legislative Votes For and Against Tolls on the Sakonnet River Bridge

The Current collects the legislative votes in favor of and opposed to the budget article allowing tolls on the Sakonnet River Bridge.

Against Borrowing in Providence or Anywhere

When considering borrowing, voters should step back and question whether the system isn’t corrupt at its core, suggests Justin.

Credit for Building, Blame for Dividing

The grammatical debate over President Obama’s “you didn’t build that” remark risks trivializing the core dispute, which Justin sees as definitional for our times.

A Decade of Moving Next Door

Rhode Island taxpayers have been fleeing the state since 2003, bringing their money and productivity with them; the trend can definitely be reversed, but it’s a choice that residents will have to make.

Wind Turbine Profits Blown Away in Portsmouth

Portsmouth’s wind turbine has run into technical problems, and Rhode Islanders should learn a broader lesson about government in business.

Transportation Infrastructure: Making a High Priority Low

Local transportation funding is vulnerable to federal vicissitudes because it is entirely federal dollars build on a bed of local borrowing. That ought to raise questions among voters about the management of the state.

The Technocrats’ Deal with the Devil

The intricate machinations suggested by Gary Sasse in the “tax-the-rich” debate raise the question of whether RI can afford the risk (or the wait) involved with technocratic designs.

04/12/12 – RI Senate Finance Committee Hearing

Justin writes live and extemporaneously from the Senate Finance Committee hearing on Gov. Chafee’s municipal relief package of legislation.

04/05/12 – House Floor Session & Committee on Environment and Natural Resources

Justin writes live from the House Committee on Environment and Natural Resources hearing, including (for one thing) creation of a new public consortium with powers of eminent domain.

04/02/12 – Central Coventry Fire District Annual Meeting

Justin writes live from a contentious Central Coventry Fire District annual meeting in Coventry.

Complete Streets Legislation Takes Build-It-and-They-Will-Bike Approach

The General Assembly is considering legislation that would require Department of Transportation preference of “complete street” designs, but it isn’t clear that another law on the books is really necessary.

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