When Will State Government Stop Hoping?

A letter to the editor from Rhode Islander Kris Gregory appearing this week in the Wall Street Journal is another item of which state officials should take note, but probably won’t (emphasis added):

Bad legislation, as much as stealth taxes, also contributes to the state’s deteriorating business climate. Seven of 10 members of my small-business study group are moving their businesses to Massachusetts as a result of a seriously flawed paid-leave bill the governor signed last year over the opposition of the business community. Even former Rhode Island governor and 2016 presidential candidate Lincoln Chafee appears to be relocating to tax-friendly Wyoming. With the coming 2020 census, Rhode Island cannot afford the departures. The state is perilously close to losing the second of its two congressional seats, and with its relative population decline, getting less federal funding which supports more than a third of the state’s nearly $10 billion budget.

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Rhode Island keeps squeezing its productive citizens because they are less concentrated than special interests.  But the thing about a group that tends to make decisions as individuals is that a critical mass will have decided to take an action that could be catastrophic before politicians are slapped with the reality.

In a sane state, the most recent jobs and employment report would be just such a slap.  Unfortunately, this is Rhode Island, where government officials seem to interpret the state’s motto, “Hope,” as a strategy.


Featured image: A visualization of Rhode Island’s population loss.

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