State to Restrict Free Movement of Goods? Preemptive strike to force truckers to pay future tolls in Rhode Island

STATEMENT: Center Blasts “Truck Toll Tyranny” as Bullying by RIDOT

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 17, 2017

State to Restrict Free Movement of Goods?

Heavy-Handed Totalitarian Measure Seen as Preemptive Strike to Force Truckers to Pay Future Tolls

Providence, RI – In a heavy-handed edict, reminiscent of soviet-style totalitarianism, the state of Rhode Island is seeking to restrict the free-flow of goods and commerce by restricting trucker traffic on secondary roads. This, according to the RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity, in response to a RIDOT requested and approved agenda item at a 9:30 AM meeting today of the State Traffic Commission at the State House.

“This is truck toll tyranny. It is an obvious preemptive attack against the RI Trucking Association by the State in a blatant attempt to force truckers to pay future tolls,” averred Mike Stenhouse, CEO for the Center. “The dishonesty of the State – in claiming this outrageous move is to preserve the safety of roads – is nothing more than government bullying of a political opponent. This restriction of free-commerce and the free movement of goods is something you would expect to see in soviet socialist countries, not in America. When the power of government is turned against its own citizens, especially when for petty political payback purposes, we all should shudder at this infringement on our liberties.”

The official letter acknowledging this agenda item, with details of restricted roadways:

 

This official letter from the state is a a heavy-handed edict, reminiscent of soviet-style totalitarianism, the state of Rhode Island is seeking to restrict the free-flow of goods and commerce by restricting trucker traffic on secondary roads.

Rhode Islanders would be hit with a tidal wave of new costs to fund the most destructive progressive bills.

15 Progressive Bills would Cost Rhode Islanders over Six BILLION Dollars

PROGRESSIVE TIDAL WAVE of New Costs ?

Opportunities for Rhode Island families to move up the income ladder and achieve a better quality of life would be threatened if the progressive-left’s agenda were to be fully implemented. Already drowning from a 45th rank in business climate and overall family prosperity, Ocean Staters would be asked to bear a tidal wave of new costs totaling multiple billions annually in order to fund the legislative vision of the state’s progressive-Democrat wing.

According to research released today by the RI Center for Freedom and Prosperity, potential increased costs of $6 BILLION per year would be heaped upon our state’s families and businesses via tax hikes, higher ratepayer fees, and new employer mandates if just 15 bills that are now on a path in the General Assembly were taken up again in future years and became law. Such added government-imposed burdens would run counter to productive reforms in other states … and would create new barriers to job creation, while reducing disposable income for virtually every Rhode Islander.

Already suffering from a serious out-migration problem in our state, taxpayers, residents, and business owners should be alarmed that the wave of intrusive bills introduced in 2017 … in the areas of healthcare, business regulation, energy, and education … would likely sweep away even more Rhode Islanders into other states.

The most onerous piece of legislation is a proposed single-payer healthcare system, sponsored by progressive-Democrat activist Representative Aaron Regunberg. In ceding management of the state’s entire healthcare insurance to an overly politicized and incompetent government bureaucracy, this one piece of legislation alone would heap about $5,403,000,000 per year in new costs on taxpayers.


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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The second biggest burden of the progressive bills, would be a $391,200,000 annual burden on employers under a $15.00 minimum wage mandate, as proposed by Representative Marcia Ranglin-Vessel, also a member of the progressive-Democrat caucus.

The third most costly bill, which will be considered next month when the General Convenes in a rare September session, is the controversial and high-profile paid-time-off mandate, also sponsored by Regunberg, which would add a $48,713,985 burden on employers.

Consistent with past trends, bills often take years to work their way through the internal politics of the General Assembly. Carbon tax and other energy-related legislation that would raise energy rates on everyone, “fairness” taxes on investment managers, affordable housing incentives, and a statewide charter-school tax … make up some of the other most costly and misguided bills.

We simply spend too much. The taxes we all must pay to support this bloated 2018 RI budget will continue to drag down our state

Analysis: Center Slams 2018 RI Budget as Deceptive, Not a Game-Changer

$692 million increase in spending over past two years
Center demands fulfillment of promise to cut sales tax

With no major reforms and by capitulating to the progressive agenda, the proposed 2018 state budget will become even more destructive for the people of Rhode Island. Despite disingenuous claims that no broad-based taxes were imposed and that spending has been cut, Ocean Staters will once again bear increased burdens to pay for the pet-projects of political leaders and advocacy extremists.

Conspicuously absent from public discussion is that the 2018 budget contains $32.2 million in new Internet taxes ($15 million from Amazon alone); this in addition to millions more in new cigarette taxes, all of which will be paid for by Rhode Island families and businesses. These tax increases outpace the proposed car tax cuts, as the proposed budget will increase state general fund spending by over $67 million.

“We simply spend too much. The taxes we all must pay to support this bloated budget will continue to drag down our state. Unlike the town of East Greenwich, which bravely cut actual year-to-year spending in its recent budget so as to avoid new tax hikes, this state budget will once again include tax increases and higher spending,” commented Mike Stenhouse, CEO for the Center. “Working class Rhode Islanders do not feel that heralding economic progress because of continued handouts to wealthy special interests will do anything to enhance their ability to move up the income ladder.”


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 Center also maintains that state politicians are breaking a promise made to the people of Rhode Island to cut the sales tax rate. In addition to paying its already high 7.0% brick-and-mortar sales tax rate, Rhode Islanders in recent years have also been subjected to a new “use’ tax on our tax forms; a way to pay taxes on presumed out-of-state and internet purchases. Legislation was passed a few years ago in Rhode Island, whereby if the federal government imposed an internet sales tax mandate, our state would cut its sales tax rate to 6.5%. Now, with the state of Rhode Island aggressively collecting internet sales taxes from resident families and businesses, to the tune of over $30 million per year, it is time for the State to honor the spirit of the law and fulfill its promise to reduce the sales tax rate.

In a state already saddled with the 50th ranked business climate, 48th on the Jobs & Opportunity Index (JOI), and 45th on the Family Prosperity Index (FPI), when combined with other legislation expected to pass this session, the 2018 budget has no game-changing tax or regulatory reforms that would substantially improve Rhode Island’s weakened competitive status. In fact, it appears as if the progressive left will achieve at least three of its four job-killing “fair shot” agenda items, which will likely make these dismal national rankings even worse.

Rhode Island spends taxpayer money at a significantly higher rate — at $9,276 per capita, compared with $8,604 for Massachusetts and, more starkly, $4,097 for New Hampshire. These two states ranks significantly higher than Rhode Island on the above cited national indexes. Further, on net, high spending and high taxes have driven out of state 11 towns’ worth of population, or over 80,000 Rhode Islanders, over the past 12 years.

There are also other deceptions put forth by political leaders. In what is become an annual pattern, a few strategies for apparent misinformation are coming into focus. First, the annual June baseline budget is adopted at a lower level, then revised upward during the mid-year budget conferences — a stealth cover for spending increases. Just this year, the 2017 budget is on track to be revised upward by $265 million, largely under the radar. That is on top of the increase of the originally enacted 2017 budget of $434 million over actual 2016 spending, for a whopping 8% increase in two stages.

Rhode Islanders can have no confidence that the same process will not be followed with the budget for fiscal year 2018, especially with gimmicks like $25 million in “undistributed savings.”

The second disingenuous claim is that certain spending programs have been “cut”, where in reality there is more spending in that area (e.g., as compared to the Governor’s original free-tuition program); or that cuts have been “restored” to politically sensitive constituents, such as Medicaid payments to hospitals and other providers. In fact, spending in these areas continues to rise. No cuts ever occurred. Instead, some of the governor’s proposed increases have been reduced to smaller increases.

Third, is a process referred to as “scooping.” Scooping is potentially a deceptive practice as it moves off-budget funding from specific state agencies or quasi-publics (e.g., $5 million from the Narragansett Bay Commission) into the general fund. Over time, these agencies may seek to recoup lost funds by shifting the burden to municipal taxpayers or other sources via increased fees (e.g., sewer taxes).

As with all budgets and legislative sessions that the Center has analyzed since 2012, there are more negative provisions than positive provisions:

On the negative side, with spending on the rise once again: increased Internet and cigarette taxes, increased minimum wage mandates that depress job growth, increased renewable energy mandates that increase energy costs, a likely paid-time-off mandate that further deteriorates the business climate, free college tuition handouts, enshrined healthcare mandates that restrict patient choices, scooping of vehicle registration fees, more state government workers, and the continued budget for targeted corporate welfare incentives.

On the positive side are: limited car tax cuts, decreased corporate welfare spending, and prioritized pro-family spending programs such as free RIPTA passes for low-income individuals and increases spending for Davies Career and Technical High School, both of which would be unambiguously positive if the budget were itself flat or going down.


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!