By Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=47943348

Statement on President Trump’s Tax Reform Plan

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 2, 2017

Ocean Staters, Families, and Businesses To Benefit

Promise of Tax Cuts and Opportunities for Bigger Paychecks Superior to State’s Current Corporate Welfare Strategy

Providence, RI – The Rhode Island Center for Freedom & Prosperity praises the tax reform plan released today by the US House of Representatives as one that will benefit Rhode Islanders in multiple ways.

With every Ocean Stater to receive a tax cut – about $1200 for middle-income families and more for those with higher earnings – and with businesses to be similarly less burdened so that they can grow and produce more and better paying jobs … Rhode Islander and their families should benefit in two ways. First, by keeping more of their current paychecks in their own pockets. Second, via future increased wages and better job opportunities as the tax cuts stimulate economic growth.

“Our state’s partisan political class will no doubt trot out their standard, mindless, and divisive class warfare mantras, but having attended two national seminars to learn details of the President’s tax reform plan, I can assure the people of Rhode Island that this sweeping reform plan is indeed designed to mostly benefit the middle-class,” commented Mike Stenhouse, CEO for the Center. “It is disappointing that our state’s political leaders would choose to deny Rhode Islanders the chance to keep and make more money just because they are hung-up on an anti-jobs, tax-the-rich platform.”

The Center has regularly maintained that if more Rhode Islanders are to have more opportunities to work in better-paying jobs, then more and better businesses must be free to grow when more disposable personal and corporate income becomes available to re-invest in business enterprises.

The White House announcement today – that semi-conductor giant, Broadcom, will be investing tens of billion of dollars in research and manufacturing in the United States, creating tens of thousands of new high-paying jobs, because of the improved business climate as a result of the proposed federal tax reforms – is proof of what can happen in Rhode Island and all states.

“This free-market approach to economic development benefits far more people and creates far more growth than our state’s existing crony-socialism approach,” concluded Stenhouse.

Despite these positive aspects of the proposed national tax reforms, the Center is concerned that federal budget spending may not see deep enough cuts to pay for the individual and corporate tax cuts.

On the Center's August Jobs & Opportunity Index, Rhode Island falls to 49th place in the country while New Hampshire remained in first place.

Jobs & Opportunity Index (JOI), August 2017: Rhode Island Squeezes the Distance from Last Place

With all but one of the 12 datapoints used for the RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity’s Jobs & Opportunity Index (JOI) updated, the Ocean State has lost its long-held grip on 48th in the country and slipped to 49th. The formula for JOI ranked Rhode Island 42nd in 2005, with a slide to 48th in 2012, where the state sat for five years.


Rhode Islanders need a credible alternative to the status quo and its destructive progressive ideas. You can help.

Click here to find out more >>>

The RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity is the Ocean State’s leading voice against the wreckage caused by our state’s progressive agenda.

As the state’s leading research organization, advancing family and business friendly values… the mission of our Center is to make Rhode Island a better place to call home – to raise a family and to build a career.

While progressives value government-centric, taxpayer-funded dependency… our Center believes in the value of hard work and the free-enterprise system.

We understand that in order for more Rhode Island families to have a better quality of life, that more and better businesses are needed to create more and better jobs.

Your donation will help us fight the union-progressive movement and, instead, advocate for pro-family, pro-business policies and values.

Please make a generous, tax-deductible gift to support our Center today!

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Federal taxes collected in Rhode Island were the only metric not updated since the June report. Employment was down 592 from the previously recorded number (for June), while labor force fell 123. However, RI-based jobs increased by 3,100. Medicaid added another 4,837 Rhode Islanders, although SNAP (food stamps) shed 3,826 and TANF (welfare) decreased by 1,728. Long-term unemployment and the number of marginally attached workers fell (by 600 and 100, respectively), but those working part-time because they can’t find full-time work increased by 800.

Perhaps most significantly, Rhode Islanders’ annualized personal income (wages and investments) fell by 1.5%, or $679 million. At the same time, state and local taxes edged up by $20 million. The Ocean State remained in 47th place for the income-to-taxes, which is JOI’s Prosperity Factor.

The chart at right shows Rhode Island still in the last position in New England, 49th in the country, while New Hampshire remained 1st. Maine moved ahead of Vermont, although both improved by several places, to 17th and 18th, respectively. Massachusetts and Connecticut both stayed put, at 31st and 36th.

The second chart shows the gap between RI and New England and the U.S. on JOI. In both cases, RI’s gap worsened. Switching to the official unemployment rate, RI’s gap slimmed slightly.

Results for the three underlying JOI factors were:

  • Job Outlook Factor (optimism that adequate work is available): RI fell seven places, to 33rd.
  • Freedom Factor (the level of work against reliance on welfare programs): RI remained 41st.
  • Prosperity Factor (the financial motivation of income versus taxes): RI remained 47th.

Click here For Our Center's Press Release >>>

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 6, 2017

Ocean State drops to 49th, nationally

Broader JOI metric undercuts boastful claims by state’s political leaders

Providence, RI – Recent boasts by state leaders about unemployment rate declines were once again undercut by a broader measure of worker prosperity. Compilation of federal government data into the national Jobs & Opprotunity Index (JOI) for August 2017 by the RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity, showed that Rhode Island now ranks second-worst in the country (49th), dropping one spot from the most recent JOI report.

“The very narrow unemployment rate calculation doesn’t care how few hours a person works, how much they earn, how much they have to depend on government assistance, or how much in taxes they pay. The broader JOI metric takes all these factors into consideration,” said the Center’s research director, Justin Katz. “State leaders are misleading the public when they cherry pick an inadequate metric for political grandstanding.”

Among New England states, Rhode Island remained last, far behind perennial first-place New Hampshire.

The most alarming news for Rhode Islanders is that their annualized personal incomes actually fell by 1.5% while, at the same time, taxes paid increased.

Additional charts and details of each of JOI’s three sub-factors can be viewed here.

Rhode Island’s JOI rankings are also more in line with other broader national indexes, such as the Family Prosperity Index and CNBC’s Business Climate Index, where the Ocean State has consistently ranked in the bottom-five. “Most likely, our state’s misleading unemployment rate ranking means that many Ocean Staters are working in low-paying or part-time jobs, and are simultaneously burdened by excessive state and local taxes,” concluded Katz.

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The RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity is the Ocean State’s leading voice against the wreckage caused by our state’s progressive agenda.

As the state’s leading research organization, advancing family and business friendly values… the mission of our Center is to make Rhode Island a better place to call home – to raise a family and to build a career.

While progressives value government-centric, taxpayer-funded dependency… our Center believes in the value of hard work and the free-enterprise system.

We understand that in order for more Rhode Island families to have a better quality of life, that more and better businesses are needed to create more and better jobs.

Your donation will help us fight the union-progressive movement and, instead, advocate for pro-family, pro-business policies and values.

Please make a generous, tax-deductible gift to support our Center today!

Increased natural gas pipeline Capacity would bring rates down for Rhode Island families after recent electricity rate hikes.

Center: Progressive Policies Root Cause of Electricity Rate Hikes on RI Families

STATEMENT – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 7, 2017

As forewarned, Progressive Energy Agenda Hurting RI Families in their Pocketbooks

Increased Natural Gas Pipeline Capacity Would Bring Rates Down

Providence, RI – Already ranking a dismal 45th in overall family prosperity, Rhode Islanders will soon suffer from a 16-21% increase on their electricity bills, making matters even worse. The nonpartisan RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity attributes these artificially high rates to state energy policies that serve to limit the supply of low-cost natural gas in the region and that mandate National Grid to purchase high-cost electricity from unreliable renewable energy producers.

In 2016, the Center forewarned of almost this exact level price increase (13-18%) in its report on the cost of renewable energy mandates.

This price increase is largely due to basic supply and demand forces. The supply of natural gas, which is used to produce low-cost and low-emission electricity, is severely limited due to inadequate natural-gas pipeline capacity into our ISO New England region. Renewable energy mandates and increased fees due to Rhode Island’s membership in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) exacerbate the problem.

“Today, every Rhode Island family and business more clearly understands the real cost of electing progressive Democrats into the General Assembly and of mainstream Democrats capitulating to their agenda,” commented Mike Stenhouse, CEO for the Center. “The way to spur private sector investment in expanded pipeline capacity is to provide market certainty by eliminating disincentives to produce and sell natural gas electricity.”

The Center laments that while much of the country is enjoying the benefits of abundant low-cost, low-emission natural gas electricity, Rhode Islanders, conversely, are suffering from policies that lead to lower available supplies of natural gas.


Rhode Islanders need a credible alternative to the status quo and its destructive progressive ideas. You can help.

Click here to find out more >>>

The RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity is the Ocean State’s leading voice against the wreckage caused by our state’s progressive agenda.

As the state’s leading research organization, advancing family and business friendly values… the mission of our Center is to make Rhode Island a better place to call home – to raise a family and to build a career.

While progressives value government-centric, taxpayer-funded dependency… our Center believes in the value of hard work and the free-enterprise system.

We understand that in order for more Rhode Island families to have a better quality of life, that more and better businesses are needed to create more and better jobs.

Your donation will help us fight the union-progressive movement and, instead, advocate for pro-family, pro-business policies and values.

Please make a generous, tax-deductible gift to support our Center today!

show less


The price increases are not attributable to profit motives by National Grid. Rather, as advocated by progressives such as US Senator Sheldon Whitehouse and State Representative Aaron Regunberg, the federal and state assault on low-cost fossil fuel energy, combined with mandates to sell high-cost green energy, have artificially distorted the free-market, leading to dramatic price increases … with no discernible and offsetting environmental benefit.

Increased production of low-cost and low-emission energy derived from natural gas offers consumers and politicians an acceptable compromise solution. However, without increased pipeline capacity, such increased production is not possible, even if the proposed Burrillville natural gas energy plant were to come online.

The Center suggests that the path to lower electric prices is clear. First, repeal the mandates and subsidies for high-cost renewable energy. Second, clear away the regulations that create market uncertainty, creating a renewed incentive for the private sector to invest in increased natural gas pipeline capacity.

Just last week, the Center also issued a report on progressive bills, two of which would heap an additional $48 million annual burden on Ocean State ratepayers.


The RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity is the Ocean State’s leading voice against the wreckage caused by our state’s progressive agenda.

As the state’s leading research organization, advancing family and business friendly values… the mission of our Center is to make Rhode Island a better place to call home – to raise a family and to build a career.

While progressives value government-centric, taxpayer-funded dependency… our Center believes in the value of hard work and the free-enterprise system.

We understand that in order for more Rhode Island families to have a better quality of life, that more and better businesses are needed to create more and better jobs.

Your donation will help us fight the union-progressive movement and, instead, advocate for pro-family, pro-business policies and values.

Please make a generous, tax-deductible gift to support our Center today!

Improvements in the Ocean State’s employment picture were undone by loss of income on the Jobs & Opportunity Index, June 2017.

Jobs & Opportunity Index (JOI), June 2017: Employment Estimates and Income Diverge

Having skipped a month, the RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity registered a larger amount of movement in its Jobs & Opportunity Index (JOI), but improvements in the Ocean State’s employment picture were undone by loss of income. Additionally, the state’s reduction in SNAP enrollees — which may be indicative of distribution problems, rather than a decrease in residents’ need for the service — was not enough to overcome a Medicaid increase and broader trends.


Rhode Islanders need a credible alternative to the status quo and its destructive progressive ideas. You can help.

Click here to find out more >>>

The RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity is the Ocean State’s leading voice against the wreckage caused by our state’s progressive agenda.

As the state’s leading research organization, advancing family and business friendly values… the mission of our Center is to make Rhode Island a better place to call home – to raise a family and to build a career.

While progressives value government-centric, taxpayer-funded dependency… our Center believes in the value of hard work and the free-enterprise system.

We understand that in order for more Rhode Island families to have a better quality of life, that more and better businesses are needed to create more and better jobs.

Your donation will help us fight the union-progressive movement and, instead, advocate for pro-family, pro-business policies and values.

Please make a generous, tax-deductible gift to support our Center today!

show less


Nine of the 12 datapoints (now counting state and local taxes as one) used for the index are newly updated. Employment was up 1,727 from the previously recorded number (for April), while labor force rose 1,054. (This is a continuation of an annual surge in these numbers typically revised away.) RI-based jobs increased by 2,000, and SNAP enrollment continued a decreasing trend, this time dropping 9,539 since the last JOI report. Medicaid enrollment, however, increased by 1,307. Turning to money, personal income (including earnings as well as various forms of investment) dropped $378 million on an annualized basis, while federal taxes increased $234 million. A $48 million drop in state and local taxes barely dented this $612 million gap income-to-tax gap.

The first chart shows Rhode Island still in the last position in New England, 48th in the country, while New Hampshire remained 1st. Elsewhere in New England, Vermont edged ahead of Maine, although both fell in national rank, to 21st and 22nd, respectively. Meanwhile, Massachusetts opened up its gap ahead of Connecticut, reaching 31st to the Nutmeg State’s 36th.

The second chart shows the gap between RI and New England and the U.S. on JOI. RI gained some on the U.S. average but lost ground in New England. Switching to the official unemployment rate, those results flip, although movement relative to the U.S. was minimal.

Results for the three underlying JOI factors were:

  • Job Outlook Factor (optimism that adequate work is available): RI jumped three, to 29th.
  • Freedom Factor (the level of work against reliance on welfare programs): RI took one step, to 41st.
  • Prosperity Factor (the financial motivation of income versus taxes): RI fell one, to 47th.

The RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity is the Ocean State’s leading voice against the wreckage caused by our state’s progressive agenda.

As the state’s leading research organization, advancing family and business friendly values… the mission of our Center is to make Rhode Island a better place to call home – to raise a family and to build a career.

While progressives value government-centric, taxpayer-funded dependency… our Center believes in the value of hard work and the free-enterprise system.

We understand that in order for more Rhode Island families to have a better quality of life, that more and better businesses are needed to create more and better jobs.

Your donation will help us fight the union-progressive movement and, instead, advocate for pro-family, pro-business policies and values.

Please make a generous, tax-deductible gift to support our Center today!