Frustrating Doggedness for a Strategy That Doesn’t Work


On one page of the Saturday Providence Journal Kate Bramson reported a “here we go again” story:

The Rhode Island Commerce Corporation paid $62,500 to the California-based Bridge Bank to keep The Corporate Marketplace current on a $3.75-million loan that the state guarantied in 2011 under a controversial state financial program.

Meanwhile, the Commerce Corporation is working with the company “to restructure the company’s financials and review all options,” with a goal of keeping the company “viable while minimizing exposure to taxpayers,” Commerce Corporation Executive Director Marcel A. Valois told The Providence Journal.

The North Kingstown company is one of four granted loan guaranties under the program that backed a $75-million bond sale to benefit former Red Sox star Curt Schilling’s video-game company.

Apparently, the big lesson that the state learned from 38 Studios was that the government shouldn’t hold companies to the job-creation benchmarks to which they pledged in order to get the money (and which were arguably the core selling point for the program in the first place).

Meanwhile, on another page of the same paper, Bramson reported on the wishlist of special arrangements that functionaries working on behalf of the state would like to put on the table to develop the land freed up through the I-Way project:

[Jan Brodie would] like no sales tax and no corporate taxes for projects built on [the land in Providence]. She’d like an “institutionalized , predictable” tax-stabilization agreement for city property taxes that would last at least 15 years…

She’d like some flexibility on the … obligation to pay back the bonds that were sold to … complete the final phase of the highway project. …

She wants an innovation fund…

Finally, she wants Governor-elect Gina Raimondo and Providence Mayor-elect Jorge O. Elorza to “hit the road,” traveling outside Rhode Island to seek specific businesses that might locate here.

Rhode Islanders need to start laughing these people out of the room and insisting on the much simpler (and more-conducive-to-freedom) plan of eliminating and stabilizing taxes and regulations for everybody in the state, while stopping the practice of incurring debt on which the government later requires “flexibility.”

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Of the following two issues related to Rhode Island’s public schools, which one is a greater concern?

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