Rhode Island Employment Snapshot, March 2014: A Boom Without Tremors

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The headline for Rhode Island’s employment picture for March is that the unemployment rate slid all the way down to 8.7% (still last in the nation, though).  You’d be hard pressed to find evidence of this employment boom in the experience of living here, but there it is.

The first chart below illustrates why some healthy skepticism continues to be in order. After many years of general stagnation, February and March 2014 arrive as a sudden ramp, both in ...

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The Great Ocean State Debate – Registration Now Open

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The Great Ocean State Debate – Registration Now Open

ATTEND THIS ONE-OF-A-KIND DEBATE on April 26 @ URI with some of the nation’s leading policy experts!

Are we better off with more or less government in our lives?

Are some public policies ‘immoral’?

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PolitiFact Should Fact-Check Itself in Bogus Ruling

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Update: PolitiFact acknowledges that the major elements of my statement were indeed true, before RULING that the statement was “Mostly False”. Read their twisted logic here … 

Read the full story – what the PolitiFact article did not tell you – below.

Commentary, April 4, 2014

Earlier this week our Center published its Spotlight On Spending report. That same day the Providence Journal published a related OpEd piece that I co-authored along with David Williams of the ...

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Rhode Island Employment Snapshot, February 2014: Still Last

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Rhode Island’s employment picture for February gives a positive impression, on first look. Put in the contexts of the past and of the country, however, it’s not quite as sunny.

On the first count, the numbers show a boom in employment, out of nowhere. We’ve seen such results every year for the past several, and they’ve always been followed by significant downward revisions.

On the second count, although Rhode Island was second strongest (after ...

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Spotlight on Spending

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Spotlight on Spending

Executive Summary

This report identifies past, current, and future instances of non-essential or wasteful spending by the State of Rhode Island, as well as steps lawmakers can take to save money now and prevent similar instances in future years.

Almost $225 million in non-essential spending has been identified and organized into multiple categories.  The list provides policymakers with opportunities for budget savings without cutting essential services and programs.  The categories are:

  • Handouts
  • Absorption of federal funding
  • Government operations
  • Government personnel
  • Government overreach

The report further recommends that checks ...

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The Economic Impact of the Above-Market Deepwater Contract

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Published in Cooperation with the Beacon Hill Institute

Deepwater Impact

On December 13th, National Grid supplied new details about its contract with Deepwater Wind to purchase power produced by its proposed offshore wind farm. The contract calls for above-market rates, with the total cost estimated in the response along with other details.[1] Based on the underlying assumptions that the project will produce 125,000 MWh of electricity, requiring an annual capacity of 47.8%, the paper predicts a total of $474.3 million ...

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Rhode Island Employment Snapshot, January 2014: Dead Last

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Rhode Island’s 9.2% unemployment rate is worst in the nation by a half-percentage-point margin.  No other state really comes close.  Worse yet, for the first time since we started tracking these numbers, the Ocean State is the farthest in the union from its pre-recession employment peak.

The first chart below illustrates the story pretty well.  After two years of employment free-fall, Rhode Island experience a little bit of a rebound.  Within six months, however, there began to ...

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RI Health Benefits Exchange Costs Exceeding Even Center’s Projections

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Implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in Rhode Island, with both the health benefits exchange (called HealthSource RI) and the expansion of Medicaid to cover able-bodied low-income adults, has been a lesson in government operation. The policies were put into place — and over $100 million in federal tax dollars were spent — without significant public discussion and with no plan to cover the costs, and we’re now learning that projections of costs were wrong in several critical aspects.

The ...

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Commentary: The Full Story, What the ProJo Did Not Tell You About Our Center

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Read the subsequent OpEd in the Providence Journal here … 

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 “Is it so unimaginable to our critics that there are indeed many people who volunteer their support to our Center, and who also believe that a limited, transparent government is the best interests of the average Rhode Islander?” …  Mike Stenhouse, CEO.

THE FULL STORY

In recent months, a national smear campaign was launched by left-leaning groups such as Progress Now and the Center for Media ...

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Governor’s Corporate Tax Cut Plan Not a Game Changer

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Based on analysis by the Rhode Island Center for Freedom & Prosperity, Governor Chafee’s proposed reduction in the corporate tax rate from 9% to 6%, if implemented as a stand-alone policy, would have a very modest positive impact on the Rhode Island economy, despite having a more notable effect on the state’s national rankings*. When this tax reform is then offset by an increase in a national internet tax, the results are likely to become negligible or even negative.

At face ...

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