MISSION & VISION: Our mission is to return government to the people by opposing special interest public policy and advancing proven free-market solutions that can transform lives through economic competitiveness, educational opportunity and individual freedom. Our vision is to see Rhode Island as a destination of choice to raise a family and build a career, with a thriving business climate, abundant jobs, and a world-class education system.


STATE THINK TANK: As the only free-enterprise public policy “think tank” in the state, our Center for Freedom provides timely research and analysis on important issues in RI, and is a proud member of the State Policy Network, working closely with over 60 other state-based affiliates.

CHANGING LIVES: Our plan is to relentlessly promote free-market solutions to solve the critical economic and educational issues we face at the state and local levels, so as to return prosperity to our Rhode Island citizens … and to transform lives for the better!

COALITION BUILDING: Our Center hosts regular meetings attended by key reform and taxpayer advocacy groups in the state. These meetings provide an important forum where information is shared and where concepts for cooperative outreach and grassroots advocacy are hatched.


 

RECENT POSTS

BEST & WORST BILLS of 2016: Pawtucket Train Station to Nowhere Among Worst

BEST & WORST BILLS of 2016: Pawtucket Train Station to Nowhere Among Worst

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE May 24, 2016 Train Station to Nowhere Perpetuates False Mass Transit Myth; Rhode Island is Not a Boston Suburb Providence, RI -- The obsession with advancing a federal mass transit agenda, as recommended by the Brookings Institution plan, continues in Rhode Island via a...

Jobs & Opportunity Index (JOI), April 2016: Slight Improvement, but Slipping Versus Neighbors

Jobs & Opportunity Index (JOI), April 2016: Slight Improvement, but Slipping Versus Neighbors

 (See the full list of state rankings!) Although the narrow official unemployment rate that Rhode Island politicians prefer to tout puts...

Best & Worst Bills So Far 2016

Best & Worst Bills So Far 2016

The Center's annual Freedom Index & Legislator Scorecard rates bills and ranks legislators based on how they vote on those bills (2012 to present). For 2016, the BEST & WORST bills already as of voted on and yet to be voted on are listed below. For more details about these bills, and all...

BEST & WORST BILLS of 2016: Uber Killer Among Worst Bills

BEST & WORST BILLS of 2016: Uber Killer Among Worst Bills

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE May 17, 2016 Radical Uber Killing Bill Would Harm Rhode Island's Already Struggling Families Providence, RI -- While Rhode Island ranks 48th on the Jobs and Opportunity Index (JOI), demonstrating the deep need for new work within our state, the House is considering a...

Debate Shut Down? Center Blasts House Committee for Passing Flawed Bill that Creates Rigged Housing Commission

Debate Shut Down? Center Blasts House Committee for Passing Flawed Bill that Creates Rigged Housing Commission

  FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE April 29, 2016 Enhancements to H7989 Rejected. Misleading and Provocative Language Would Create Affordable Housing Commission Rigged with Biased Members Hypocrisy from Speaker's Office Ensures that RhodeMap RI Moves Onward Providence, RI -- It is the mission...

Launched Today: Center’s New Jobs Index Ranks RI 48th, Contradicts Unemployment Rate Story

Launched Today: Center’s New Jobs Index Ranks RI 48th, Contradicts Unemployment Rate Story

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE April 28, 2016 New Jobs & Opportunity Index Provides Lawmakers with Superior Measure of Economic Well-Being There is no JOI in Mudville as Rhode Island Strikes-Out, Ranking 48th Nationally Providence, RI -- The Rhode Island economy has struck-out when evaluated on...

Jobs & Opportunity Index (JOI), March 2016: A More-Accurate View of RI’s Employment Situation

Jobs & Opportunity Index (JOI), March 2016: A More-Accurate View of RI’s Employment Situation

 (See the full list of state rankings!) During the Center’s years of analyzing employment reports from the federal Bureau of Labor Statist...

MEDIA RELEASE: Astorino Delivers anti-HUD Warning to RI Municipalities, SRO Crowd

MEDIA RELEASE: Astorino Delivers anti-HUD Warning to RI Municipalities, SRO Crowd

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE April 25, 2016 Westchester County Executive Warns of Federal Intrusion into Local Matters Astorino Encourages North Kingstown and Other Localities to Forgo CDBG Grants, Keep Local Decisions Local Providence, RI -- Despite efforts by the federal government to silence h...

Media Release-ALEC: Governor’s “RI Innovates” Plan by Brookings To Suffer Similar Failure as NY?

Media Release-ALEC: Governor’s “RI Innovates” Plan by Brookings To Suffer Similar Failure as NY?

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE April 21, 2016 Start-Up NY Demonstrates Failure of Gov't Directed Economy and Corporate Cronyism Related "Cooler Warmer" video commentary discusses overall incompetence of government Providence, RI -- A new post, produced for the Center by the American Legislative Exc...

ALEC: Is RI-Innovates Corporate Cronyism in the Best Interests of Ocean State Families?

ALEC: Is RI-Innovates Corporate Cronyism in the Best Interests of Ocean State Families?

VIDEO: CEO Stenhouse discusses Brookings plan in his Cooler & Warmer Video Commentary Rhode Island Innovates is the official state economic development plan, created by the Brookings Institution and endorsed by the Governor. Part of its hidden agenda is to advance an unproven “smart growth...

BEST & WORST BILLS of 2016; PC Food Police in Schools Among Worst

BEST & WORST BILLS of 2016; PC Food Police in Schools Among Worst

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE  April 18, 2016 Elitist PC Food Police Would Limit School Ads to Government-Approved Products Only Providence, RI -- With students on break this week, they themselves would get a break from legislation that would restrict their expos...

Rhode Island Employment Snapshot, March 2016: Up but Losing Ground

Rhode Island Employment Snapshot, March 2016: Up but Losing Ground

[Click here for the printable one-page PDF of this post.] Although Rhode Island’s unemployment rate held at 5.4% in March, the good news from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) is that the two components of the rate were both in positive territory: Labor force was up 683, and employme...

Center Opposes Green Gateway as DOT Bait-&-Switch; Boulevard & Other Options Should be Considered

Center Opposes Green Gateway as DOT Bait-&-Switch; Boulevard & Other Options Should be Considered

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE April 11, 2016 Green Gateway an Obvious Hand Out to Special Interests; Like Toll Bill Itself, Fails to Consider Alternatives Providence, RI -- The Rhode Island Center for Freedom & Prosperity opposes the RI Department of Transportation's proposed 6-10 connector "Gree...

Center to Testify Against Bill to Create a pro RhodeMapRI ‘Rigged’ Affordable Housing Commission; Will Challenge Discrimination Charge in Language

Center to Testify Against Bill to Create a pro RhodeMapRI ‘Rigged’ Affordable Housing Commission; Will Challenge Discrimination Charge in Language

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE April 7, 2016 H 7989's Misleading and Provocative Language Would Create Affordable Housing Commission Rigged with Biased Members Providence, RI -- The Rhode Island Center for Freedom & Prosperity today raises objections about a House bill that would create a commiss...

Statement: EITC Expansion Superior to Minimum Wage Hike; Union Benefit?

Statement: EITC Expansion Superior to Minimum Wage Hike; Union Benefit?

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE March 31, 2016 Minimum Wage Hike Will Cost Jobs; EITC Expansion Promotes Work Providence, RI -- The Rhode Island Center for Freedom & Prosperity believes that every Rhode Islander who strives to work hard should be able to earn enough income to support themselves an...

The RI Minimum Wage: To Raise or Not to Raise?

The RI Minimum Wage: To Raise or Not to Raise?

[Click here for printable PDF.] The RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity believes that all Rhode Islanders who strive to work hard should be able to earn a living to support themselves and their families. The question, of course, is how employment for those at the bottom of the income ladder ca...

Updated: BEST & WORST Legislation of 2016; Redistribution of Municipal Wealth

Updated: BEST & WORST Legislation of 2016; Redistribution of Municipal Wealth

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE March 28, 2016 "Municipal Redistribution of Wealth" Bill Headlines Worst of 2016 Providence, RI -- Headlined by H7985, a bill that would create a new mandate to punish cities and towns for not advancing a federal agenda, the RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity today...

JUNK DISCLOSURE: H 7147A Puts Donor Privacy at Risk

JUNK DISCLOSURE: H 7147A Puts Donor Privacy at Risk

Real campaign finance reform fairly discloses those who contribute to a political campaign. New "junk disclosure" laws would unfairly expose to political retribution, many donors to non-political activities of non-political charitable organizations. H7147A, sponsored by Reps Edwards, Canario, M...

Rhode Island Employment Snapshot, January 2016: New Year Not Off to an Early Good Start

Rhode Island Employment Snapshot, January 2016: New Year Not Off to an Early Good Start

[Click here for the printable one-page PDF of this post.] While Rhode Island’s January employment results from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) generally indicated continuing stagnation, one difference from last year is that the first results for the year didn’t show a large jump...

Written Testimony submitted by CEO Stenhouse to  Senate Committee on Finance and House Committee on Finance

Written Testimony submitted by CEO Stenhouse to Senate Committee on Finance and House Committee on Finance

TO: Senate & House Committees on Finance     re. RI Innovates Good afternoon, my name is Mike Stenhouse, CEO for the RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity. Today, I’d like to discuss two major concerns with this RI Innovates plan. First, the illegitimate process by which it was ad...

Center To Call on Governor, Committee Chairs to Delay Final Actions on Brookings’ RI Innovates Plan

Center To Call on Governor, Committee Chairs to Delay Final Actions on Brookings’ RI Innovates Plan

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE March 15, 2016 Legal and Legislative Issues Should be Resolved Before House & Senate Committees and the Governor Give Final Approval Providence, RI -- As will be detailed in testimony by its CEO this afternoon, the Rhode Island Center for Freedom & Prosperity w...

Stenhouse Testimony to Blast RI Innovates as “Illegitimate” at House/Senate Hearings

Stenhouse Testimony to Blast RI Innovates as “Illegitimate” at House/Senate Hearings

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE March 15, 2016 Will Question Illegitimate Process - Citing Transparency, Ethical, and Legal Concerns Providence, RI -- As yet another example of state political leaders bypassing generally accepted good-government practices, the CEO of the Rhode Island Center for Freed...

STATEMENT: Inadequacy of Unemployment Rate Exposed; New Family Prosperity Index a Superior Measurement

STATEMENT: Inadequacy of Unemployment Rate Exposed; New Family Prosperity Index a Superior Measurement

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE March 11, 2016 Traditional Jobs Data Paints Inaccurate and Incomplete Picture Center's Claims Validated: Lawmakers Should look to Broader FPI Index to Understand True Well-being of Ocean State Families Providence, RI -- Today's front-page Providence Journal story valid...

R.I. Ranks 48th in Family Prosperity Index; a Broader Metric than Unemployment Rate

R.I. Ranks 48th in Family Prosperity Index; a Broader Metric than Unemployment Rate

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE March 8, 2016 FPI Measures Both Economic and Social Factors Lawmakers Should Consider Broader Policy Impacts on Ocean State Families Providence, RI -- New national research released this month indicates that Rhode Island families may not be faring as well as lawmakers m...

Statement: Center Praise Oversight Committee for Initiating 38 Studios SEC Fraud Investigation

Statement: Center Praise Oversight Committee for Initiating 38 Studios SEC Fraud Investigation

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE March 7, 2016 SEC Fraud Charges a Result of House Oversight Probe into 38 Studios RI Government Once Again Betrays Trust of the People Providence, RI -- On the heals of today's announcement by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that it charged an agenc...

4278 Workers Disappear: 2015 Unemployment Rate Claims Inaccurate

4278 Workers Disappear: 2015 Unemployment Rate Claims Inaccurate

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE March 2, 2015 2015 RI Unemployment Rate Claims Prove False as 4278 Workers Disappear Center to publish new Jobs & Opportunity Index in March Providence, RI -- As predicted by the Center, the 2015 unemployment rate for Rhode Island was revised to paint a less rosy p...

Rhode Island Employment Revision, December 2015: Expected Revision Drops Employment and Changes Narrative

Rhode Island Employment Revision, December 2015: Expected Revision Drops Employment and Changes Narrative

[Click here for the printable one-page PDF of this post.] As expected, the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS’s) annual revision of employment data for Rhode Island changed the picture substantially, undermining claims that politicians and activists have been making about Rhode Island’s econo...

STATEMENT: Center Decries Smith Hill Abuse of Power; Oversight Committee Vows Probe

STATEMENT: Center Decries Smith Hill Abuse of Power; Oversight Committee Vows Probe

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE February 29, 2016 Political Intimidation Leads to Private Sector Ousters House Oversight Committee Chair Vows to Initiate Probe Providence, RI -- Following an alarming announcement this morning about political retribution on private industry, the RI Center for Freedom...

Statement from Robert Lafleur: PRESSURED RESIGNATION OF EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF RI INDEPENDENT CONTRACTORS

Statement from Robert Lafleur: PRESSURED RESIGNATION OF EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF RI INDEPENDENT CONTRACTORS

Statement from Robert Lafleur, Former Executive Director of the RI Independent Contractors Association (RIICA) (This statement was issued earlier today by Robert Lafleur, Former Executive Director of the RI Independent Contractors Association (RIICA), the Center has released a statement on t...

2016 General Assembly Once Again Producing Negative Results

2016 General Assembly Once Again Producing Negative Results

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE  February 16, 2016 Vast Majority of Bills and Lawmakers Already Deeply in Negative Territory Providence, RI -- General Assembly lawmakers in 2016 are on track to continue a multi-year, negative trend of public policy that will reduce economic justice for Rhode Island...

P3 PayGo Testimony, House Finance 2/4/16

P3 PayGo Testimony, House Finance 2/4/16

Transcript: Good evening. My name is Justin Katz.  I’m the research director for the Rhode Island Center for Freedom & Prosperity. The amazing thing about infrastructure, and this whole issue, is that we’ve got roads that need repair, we’ve got workers who want to repair them, w...

STATEMENT: Governor Raimondo’s 2017 Budget Shows Special Interests on the Rise

STATEMENT: Governor Raimondo’s 2017 Budget Shows Special Interests on the Rise

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE February 3, 2016 2017 Proposed Budget Puts Priority on Government Favors Everyday Rhode Islander becomes second class More spending, more revenue, and more debt Puts RI in the hands of Washington, D.C., priorities Providence, RI -- Anyone who thought Rhode Isl...

Mike Stenhouse: Brookings’ trickle-down socialism

Mike Stenhouse: Brookings’ trickle-down socialism

(Originally published in the Providence Journal on Jan. 26, 2016) The Brookings Institution report released by Gov. Gina Raimondo last week is just more of the same - a failed public policy approach and a continuation of the RhodeMap RI plan that advances a radical federal agenda. For years, the...

STATEMENT: P3 Legislation Applauded as More Efficient Delivery Model for Infrastructure Upgrades

STATEMENT: P3 Legislation Applauded as More Efficient Delivery Model for Infrastructure Upgrades

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE January 28, 2016 Representative Jared Nunes Responds to Governor's Call P3 would ensure cost-certainty for taxpayers & drivers, potentially reduce costs and delivery time Providence, RI -- The Governor has repeatedly asked for ideas that could more efficient...

Rhode Island Employment Snapshot, December 2015: Late 2015 Shed Much of Early 2015’s Gains

Rhode Island Employment Snapshot, December 2015: Late 2015 Shed Much of Early 2015’s Gains

[Click here for the printable one-page PDF of this post.] With the Bureau of Labor Statistics’s (BLS’s) release of preliminary December employment data for Rhode Island and the country, a sense of the year (and the likely revisions forthcoming) comes into focus. In December, Rhode Island’s...

New Report Cautions Lawmakers; Reversing Education Reform Harms RI Student Achievement, Especially the Disadvantaged

New Report Cautions Lawmakers; Reversing Education Reform Harms RI Student Achievement, Especially the Disadvantaged

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE January 27, 2016 National Test Scores for RI Students Decreased Following Chafee Halt to Education Reform Disadvantaged Students Suffered Most Lawmakers cautioned not to make same mistake with charter schools and Educational Scholarship Accounts Providence, RI -- It...

Rhode Island NAEP in Context: Improvement Hit Ceiling in 2011

Rhode Island NAEP in Context: Improvement Hit Ceiling in 2011

HALT IN EDUCATION REFORM PRODUCED DROP IN STUDENT TEST SCORES. Every two years, the National Center for Education Statistics releases state-level results from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) test. Since 2001, the federal government has required all states receiving Title I fun...

Center’s Scholarship Legislation Part of Thursday’s State House Celebration of National School Choice Week

Center’s Scholarship Legislation Part of Thursday’s State House Celebration of National School Choice Week

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE January 25, 2016 Center Supports "All of the Above" Approach to Empowering Families with more Choices for Students Will promote "Bright Today Educational Scholarship" legislation, now in its second year Providence, RI -- It's National School Choice Week across America...

STATEMENT: Brookings Report – Corporate Welfare Spending Looks Like Greenhouse Compact Two

STATEMENT: Brookings Report – Corporate Welfare Spending Looks Like Greenhouse Compact Two

STATEMENT January 19, 2016 Brookings Recommendations Do Little To Advance Equal Opportunity for Most Families or Business Owners, While Dishing Out Corporate Welfare to the Insider Few Center to lead local-national task force to offer "UnLeash RI" alternative economic vision v. Brookings' "Gr...

STATEMENT: New IHS Study Supports Center’s Concerns – Have Lawmakers Received Inaccurate Toll Impact Projections?

STATEMENT: New IHS Study Supports Center’s Concerns – Have Lawmakers Received Inaccurate Toll Impact Projections?

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE January 13, 2016 REMI: Questionable Economic Modeling Theory & Revenue Assumptions? Lawmakers Must Not Rely on Single Perspective, as Center Warned in September 2015 Providence, RI - Lawmakers may have received inaccurate information when it comes to the economic...

US SUPREME COURT & RI: Backgrounder Report on Right-To-Work Friedrichs & RI Case

US SUPREME COURT & RI: Backgrounder Report on Right-To-Work Friedrichs & RI Case

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE January 11, 2016 Center Urges U.S. Supreme Court to Protect First Amendment in Landmark Right-to-Work Case Friedrichs v. CTA decision to impact thousands of workers in RI by allowing them to opt-out of forced union fees Providence, RI -- Today, the U.S. Supreme Court w...

Friedrichs Vs. California Teachers Association

Friedrichs Vs. California Teachers Association

Mackinac Center for Public Policy Backgrounder by F. Vincent Vernuccio and Patrick Wright Download a PDF of the Full Backgrounder  What Is the Friedrichs Case? Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association et al. is a case in front of the U.S. Supreme Court filed by the Center for Individual...

RELEASE: 2015 General Assembly Scorecard & Freedom Index – Diminished Economic Justice

RELEASE: 2015 General Assembly Scorecard & Freedom Index – Diminished Economic Justice

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE January 7, 2016 Despite Claims of Moving Forward, Lawmakers Pushed Ocean State Backward in 2015 Broad Based Reform & Repeal Strategy Can Help Provide Equal Opportunity for all Rhode Islanders Providence, RI -- With the 2016 legislative session open this week, lawm...

RI General Assembly 2015 Session Freedom Index

RI General Assembly 2015 Session Freedom Index

Download: Freedom Index 2015 Scorecard; legislator votes, bill explanations, and rankings Go to main Freedom Index page. 2015 Freedom...

STATEMENT: Senate 11 Election, State House Rally Prove Supporting Tolls is Political Suicide

STATEMENT: Senate 11 Election, State House Rally Prove Supporting Tolls is Political Suicide

STATEMENT January 6, 2016 Public Speaks Loud & Clear That Supporting Tolls is a Dangerous Road for Elected Officials Providence, RI -- At the same time yesterday that angered citizens were chanting "Stop Tolls Now" at a boisterous State House rally, citizens across the bay were similarly...

STATEMENT: Center Supports STOP TOLLS RI Rally. Concerns re. Big-Dig Type Cost Over-runs

STATEMENT: Center Supports STOP TOLLS RI Rally. Concerns re. Big-Dig Type Cost Over-runs

STATEMENT January 5, 2016 REDUCING PROJECT COSTS BEST WAY TO ELIMINATE NEED FOR TOLLS Providence, RI -- The ongoing dysfunction and history of inefficiency at the RI Department of Transportation (RI DOT) would likely lead to "Big Dig" level cost over-runs for the Governor's bridge and road up...

NOVEMBER JOBS SNAPSHOT: Lower Unemployment Rate Paints Inaccurate Picture

NOVEMBER JOBS SNAPSHOT: Lower Unemployment Rate Paints Inaccurate Picture

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE December 21, 2015 RI Unemployment Rate Again Paints False Picture Center to publish new Jobs & Opportunity Index in 2016 Providence, RI -- For the second month in a row, the November unemployment rate for Rhode Island appears to paint an incomplete and misleading...

Rhode Island Employment Snapshot, November 2015: Expected Down Note as Last Report of the Year

Rhode Island Employment Snapshot, November 2015: Expected Down Note as Last Report of the Year

[Click here for the printable one-page PDF of this post.] The trend that has come to define Rhode Island’s employment picture in 2015 (indeed, since the end of the recession) continued for the final Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) report for the year. In November, Rhode Island’s unemployment...

Statement: Ocean State Jobs Picture Not As Rosy As It Seems

Statement: Ocean State Jobs Picture Not As Rosy As It Seems

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE November 25, 2015 RI Employment Picture Tainted by Dwindling Labor Force Center to publish new quarterly jobs index in 2016 Providence, RI -- The traditional monthly unemployment rate, widely reported by most news outlets, often paints an incomplete and misleading sna...

Rhode Island Employment Snapshot, October 2015: Two Losses Don’t Make a Gain

Rhode Island Employment Snapshot, October 2015: Two Losses Don’t Make a Gain

[Click here for the printable one-page PDF of this post.] For yet another month, Rhode Island’s unemployment rate dropped, from 5.4% in September, to 5.3% in September, according to data from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). And for yet another month, that positive outcome resulted...



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