The Raimondo administration is heaping additional burdens on employers by doling out tens of millions of their hard-earned tax dollars to Infosys.

Statement on Infosys Announcement: Small Businesses Should Be the Focus

Pro Small Business Measures Would Benefit Ocean State More than Infosys-Type Corporate Welfare

Federal Tax Reforms Could Open Door for Real Economic Growth

Providence, RI – Just days after touting “Small Business Saturday” the Raimondo administration has heaped additional tax burdens on employers and taxpayers in the Ocean State by doling out tens of millions of their hard-earned dollars to Infosys. Today’s announcement of yet another astro-turf corporate welfare scheme underscores how little is being done to nurture small business employers, who account for well over 90% of all jobs in the state.

Ironically, the RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity points out that it may be reforms in Washington, DC … often the target of scorn by the Governor … that could be the main reason behind the Infosys announcement, and that may spur real, grass-rootseconomic growth.

“There is little doubt in my mind that the primary reason why Infosys is now locating more jobs in America is because of the easing of federal regulations that we have seen this year,” commented Mike Stenhouse, CEO for the Center. “If Congress next passes its Tax Cuts & Jobs Act, companies won’t need taxpayer-funded hand-outs to decide to become established and to flourish in our state.”

The Center has long-maintained that Rhode Island’s corporate welfare based economic development strategy, like the Infosys deal, is not sufficient to spur robust economic growth and jobs creation. Instead, the Center has advocated that broad-based tax and regulator reforms – that will lessen burdens every business in our state – are the only means by which more and better companies will produce more and better-paying jobs.

“The Infosys deal does nothing to improve our state’s dismal business climate and will help very few Rhode Islanders,” continued Stenhouse. “Interestingly, while statewide legislative leaders continue to hamper small business growth, it may be the federal government that will take concrete steps to actually improve the climate for all small and large businesses.

“According to the Center, corporate welfare schemes will do little to alleviate the problems suffered by Rhode Island employers and families … as exemplified by bottom-10 national rankings in such broad-based indexes as: overall state business climate, Family Prosperity Index, Jobs & Opportunity Index, occupational licensing burdens, and the recently released poverty report.

Stenhouse commentary: Legislative Grants – Cheers to 10 Lawmakers, Shame on You

Commentary: CEO Stenhouse congratulates 10 lawmakers who have resisted immoral legislative grants, and rips the public policy culture they perpetuate.

See the video on The Ocean State CurrentStenSpeech3

Good day Rhode Island, I’m Mike Stenhouse with the RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity welcoming you to our debate series, “What’s really in your best interests?”. Today we’ll explore the recently publicized and controversial topic of legislative grants. Are lawmakers the only people at fault, or is there a larger, more fundamental problem at play?

Legislative grants hand-out your taxpayer dollars to organizations in an arbitrary, yet highly politicized process. When your local Little League or parade receives such a grant, totaling anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars, local lawmakers gets the credit for giving away your money … assuming those lawmakers, of course, are in favor with House and Senate leadership – this is where the internal politics comes in.

Much of the media attention has focused on lawmakers who have applied for such grants in a corrupt process to gain favor with voters. In looking at the other side of the coin, however, I’d like to recognize 10 lawmakers in the General Assembly who have not applied for a single legislative grant this year. In alphabetical order, they are:

Rep Greg Constantino, Democrat, Lincoln

Rep Blake Filippi, Independent, New Shoreham

Senator Mark Gee, Republican, East Greenwich

Rep Robert Jacquard, Democrat, Providence

Rep Karen MacBeth, Democrat turned Republican, Cumberland

Rep Brian Newberry, Republican minority leader, North Smithfield

Rep Jeremiah O’Grady, Democrat, Lincoln

Senator Ed O’Neill, Independent turned Republican, Lincoln

Senator John Pagliarini, Republican, Bristol

Rep Sheri Roberts, Republican, West Greenwich

These 10 lawmakers apparently understand the larger “principle” involved here … that the politicization of your hard-earned taxpayer dollars is simply wrong! I applaud these 10 lawmakers and I ask you to thank them next time you see them.

However, while we give “cheers” to these 10, there is another group who roundly deserve “boos”. The problem with legislative grants is not just the waste of your taxpayer dollars, but it’s the culture they perpetuate. It seems more and more, whether it be 38 Studios, a baseball stadium, the Superman building, local groups, and countless other private enterprises … that far too many individuals and businesses are becoming increasingly dependent on government handouts to survive or to boost their profits.

Just go up to Smith Hill some day. See who’s hanging around outside and inside the legislative chambers, listen to who testifies at the various hearings, and if you’re like me you’ll be sickened by sheer number of people up there demanding they get some of your money … as if it’s their right. No wonder some call it a “Den of Thieves”.

I say shame on you if you’re one of these businesses or groups who come begging to Smith Hill, to your legislators, or to your local town and city council with your hands out; whether seeking tax credits, subsidies, loan guarantees, tax stabilization plans, or, yes, a legislative grant.

If you’re one of these beggars, you are as big a problem as the lawmakers who accede to your demands.

You help perpetuate a special-interest culture of corruption

You help create an unfair playing field that distorts the free-market economy.

Why does your organization have any right to my money?

You are not examples of successful American capitalism  … you are byproducts of insider cronyism.

This overly-politicized “money” culture is immoral and it must stop. If we are to reform this corrupt culture, it must start with you … the people of Rhode Island. Our Center has never taken and never will take a single dime of taxpayer money. We depend entirely on the generosity of private individuals and private foundations.

Stop seeking government handouts … instead, start doing it yourself.

Stop supporting special-interest spending policies … instead, start demanding broad-based tax and regulatory cuts that benefit all of us.

Stop cozying up to politicians in order to curry monetary favor from them … instead, start holding them accountable when they politicize your money.

Friends, together, we can stop this corruption that benefits the insiders and hurts the rest of us. Let’s make a point of congratulating these 10 lawmakers … and among ourselves, let’s pledg to build our futures, on our own, so that our prosperity will be based on nothing more than our own hard work and ingenuity.

This how Rhode Island can be returned to prosperity.
In liberty, I remain at your service. This is Mike Stenhouse, good day.

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