Employment Shrinks as Commerce Corp. Proves RI Is No Virgin

Over three years, Virgin Pulse will introduce enough new jobs to undo this one month of employment increases, even as it continues ShapeUp’s practice of relying on government handouts.

Article 18: Another Insider “Deepwater” Scam in the Making? (Corrected)

Despite disturbing new revelations and renewed public criticism about insider legislative grants, cronyism appears to be alive and well at the Rhode Island State House. And once again, Ocean State families and businesses would be asked to foot the bill.

In the budget that got voted out of the Finance Committee early Wednesday morning, alert observers spotted and brought to the attention of the RI Center for Freedom and Prosperity as well as the Ocean State Current on Friday an extensive revision to Article 18.

They are correct to loudly ring warning bells about it. If it stays in, state electric ratepayers are in for even higher electric rates than they currently pay.

Cooler & Warmer Time Line and the Commerce Corp.’s Promotional Focus

The Commerce Corp. is being vague about the time line of the development of the failed “Cooler & Warmer” brand, which raises questions about what it’s hiding and whom it’s promoting.

Was Final RhodeWorks Vote Scheduled Before the Bill Was Submitted?

Correspondence related to the removal of the toll gantries on the Sakonnet River Bridge on Super Bowl Sunday suggests that the date was no surprise, that the state paid a premium for the timing, and that government officials had the schedule for RhodeWorks legislation planned out well in advance.

UPDATED: Former RIICA Director: State House Pressure on Lobbyists, Members Led to Lost Job

As the latest incident showing a toxic culture in the State House, the former executive director of Rhode Island Independent Contractors and Associates (RIICA) says he was forced out after officials put pressure on the group’s lobbyists and members began to fear retaliation.

Rhode Island Foundation’s Money from the State

Claims that $600,000 of revenue from the state to the Rhode Island Foundation was simply a “pass-through,” not a payment for services, appear to conflict with state documents related to the Chronic Care Sustainability Initiative.

Governor Outsources State’s Chief Innovation Officer in Constitutional Loophole

Despite the insinuations of press reports, Governor Raimondo’s new chief innovation officer official works for and reports to a private nonprofit associated with Rhode Island College and may not have been subject to any legislative review, as required by the state constitution.

UPDATED: Out-of-State-Trucker Revenue and the Effect of Tolls

Out-of-state truckers already pay taxes and fees on a per-mile basis, in Rhode Island, and new tolls could have a detrimental effect on revenue and the economy.

Gordon Proctor Report Contradictory Pretense to Bolster Laborers’ Union at RIDOT

Governor Raimondo appears to have used an outside report on the project development and management practices of the state Dept. of Transportation as a pretense for shifting intended hires in that area to different purposes that increase membership in her new director’s labor union.

Terry Gorman: Number of Anchor Babies Born in Rhode Island Almost Doubled From 2012 to 2013

RIILE’s Terry Gorman has uncovered information that is especially disturbing in light of the revelation this week that that Governor Gina Raimondo would like to find a path to drivers licenses/permits for illegal aliens.

Park Avenue Bridge: Did the Wood Even Need to be Replaced? Was the Correct Part of the Bridge Repaired? “Lieutenant Colonel” Columbo Has a Few Questions

With the completely unacceptable, lose-lose for Rhode Island prospect of across-the-board vehicle tolling suddenly on the table, let’s take a closer look at a high-profile toll-related incident from a couple of months ago: the closure by RIDOT of the Park Avenue Bridge.

You may recall the WPRI investigation last month by Ted Nesi on the timing of the Park Avenue Bridge inspection. RIDOT had ordered an inspection – it turned into three inspections – of the Park Avenue Bridge in Cranston, a bridge just down the road from Speaker Nicholas Mattiello’s office. The inspections resulted in the abrupt closing of the bridge at the height of Governor Raimondo’s attempt to get her tolling program passed by the General Assembly.

HPV Vaccine Mandate the Tip of Big Money Insider Interests

Following the money around the Rhode Island Dept. of Health’s decision to require all Rhode Island seventh graders to be vaccinated against a sexually transmitted disease reveals the big-money game of politics and government health.

Home-Alone Minor Films House Judiciary Chairman Forcibly Opening Apartment Entry Door

Representative Cale Keable, a landlord with properties in Mapleville, is seen in an online video forcibly opening an entry door, despite the request of the tenant’s minor son for him to return when his mother is home.

UPDATED: Gruber’s Brief Dealings with HealthSource RI

A contract and correspondence with MIT Professor Jonathan Gruber show that HealthSource RI cut his project short and used earlier estimates that he had called “rough.”

Tori Richards: Is Orwell’s 1984 Coming to Rhode Island?

RhodeMap RI puts the Ocean State on a path to lost control and lost freedoms, but some legislators are moving to stop it.

UPDATED: Jonathan Gruber Behind Flawed HealthSource RI Projections

Jonathan Gruber’s remarks about the “stupidity of the American voter” have revealed the deception behind ObamaCare, and his involvement in the planning process for HealthSource RI raises the question of how pervasive his attitude has been among government agents locally.

Question #4: In-State Employment Rate of URI Engineering Grads Does Not Justify $125 Million Tab for Taxpayers

This Tuesday, Rhode Island taxpayers will be asked if they are willing to pay an eye-opening $125 million, excluding interest, to construct a new building and renovate existing buildings at URI’s College of Engineering. Proponents claim it will improve Rhode Island’s workforce, but how many URI engineers are actually staying to work in the state, right now?

Contra Code of Ethics, Sen. Conley Bills State for $47,030 in 2013

State Senator William Conley (D, East Providence, Pawtucket) has served as legal counsel for the state Ethics Commission, but records show that he may have violated the Code of Ethics when he took additional work from the state after having been elected to office.

One in Six Legislators, Employers Have Received Payments from the State

Representative Peter Palumbo isn’t the only legislator in the General Assembly whose places of business have received money from the state government. The Ocean State Current takes a look at some of the others.

Tech Collective Defends the Governor’s Workforce Board… and Most of Its Own Revenue

Another organization speaking out against the RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity’s Spotlight on Spending report appears to have a business model that charges dues for access to taxpayer-funded services.

More From Rhode Island’s “Business Voices”: RI Hospitality’s Worforce Board Funding Stream

Employees of the RI Hospitality Education Foundation came to the defense of the Governor’s Workforce Board, which the RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity recommended eliminating, and which supplies one-third or more of the foundation’s funding.

HealthSource RI’s Million Dollar Media Buy

HealthSource RI has spent $1,115,666 on advertising for the five-month period from October 13, 2013, to March 14, 2014.

Breaking Down the Greencore Deal

Rhode Island is celebrating the promise of 390 jobs being brought to Quonset Point, but a more careful look at the deal raises questions about whether it follows the right strategy for economic development.

RI Housing, Another Mirror of the RI Way

Two parcels of Providence land for which Rhode Island Housing appears to have paid a hefty sum open up a peep hole into the operations of the state’s ruling class.

Costs upon Costs with HealthSource-Related Data

Government spin and incomplete reportage of HealthSource RI’s results leave Rhode Islanders with little understanding of how short the health benefits exchange will be of covering its expenses or how much greater the Medicaid handouts will be than projected.

Leidecker Appeal of Cyberstalking Conviction – What Will the A.G.’s Office Do?

NEA RI representative John Leidecker has appealed his conviction for cyberstalking of former state Representative Douglas Gablinske, raising concerns that the courts may set a dangerous precedent.

No Authority to Arrest SLRB Election Watchers, Say State Police

Despite reports of threatened arrest, the State Police say troopers had no authority to arrest volunteers who wanted to watch child-care provider unionization elections, which turned out to have a very lopsided vote.

HealthSourceRI Navigator Background Checks Not Required

No law or regulation at the federal or state level requires health benefits exchange “navigators” in Rhode Island to undergo criminal background checks, and not all agencies providing the service require them on their own.

Coventry Student Suspended for Keychain

A Coventry student has been suspended from school for carrying a keychain shaped like a gun.

Public Dollars for Business Benefits

An in-home child-care worker who has come forward supporting unionization of those with similar businesses has also advocated for a national tax on Christmas trees and special treatment of farms for the estate tax.

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