The Governor's budget for FY2019 stands in stark contrast to the successful path to prosperity blazed by the federal government via tax and regulatory reductions in the past year.

Center Critical of Governor’s “Wrong Direction” Budget

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

January 18, 2018

“Keep Going” Strategy Headed in Wrong Direction

Recent Federal Reforms Demonstrate the Path to Prosperity

Providence, RI – The Governor’s proposed “Keep Going” FY2019 budget stands in stark contrast to the successful path to prosperity blazed by the federal government via tax and regulatory reductions in the past year.

“In perpetuating a stagnant economic status quo for Rhode Island, this budget includes a number of new revenue schemes, even while the Administration claims there are no broad based tax hikes,” said Mike Stenhouse, CEO for the Rhode Island Center for Freedom & Prosperity.”Treading water simply is not good enough for a state that ranks in the bottom-10 in multiple broad, national indexes: business climate, Family Prosperity Index, Jobs & Opportunity Index, and in regulatory burdens.”

Already spending significantly more per capita than its more prosperous neighboring states, the proposed budget irresponsibly proposes $135 million in new spending, including the planned hiring of hundreds of new government workers. The budget also seeks to extract significant new revenues from the public via a bevy of narrow tax and fee increases, such state sponsored sports gambling and increased marijuana usage, and “scoops” from other agencies. Additionally, the projected $41 million in new trucker toll receipts will inevitably lead to higher prices for grocery and other consumer products.

With a highly successful 180 degree opposite approach, and less than one month after becoming law, the recently enacted federal tax reforms prove that bold reductions in personal and corporate tax burdens, when combined with meaningful regulatory reforms, will lead to real and immediate economic growth. Further, as the nation has witnessed by the hundreds of companies that have recently announced employee bonuses and pay increases, such growth directly benefits workers at all levels.

The $350 BILLION investment plan announced by Apple this month, and the expected $38 BILLION in new federal taxes it will pay, clearly demonstrates – as the Center has consistently advocated, and as America also saw during with Reagan era tax cuts – that lower tax rates that spur economic growth can actually lead to increased revenue flows to the government.

“Sadly, per Amazon’s announcement this, we find again that Rhode Island’s political class was fooling itself into believing that our Ocean State was in the running for a new Amazon corporate campus,” continued Stenhouse. “As we have maintained for years, until RI takes serious steps to improve our dismal business & educational climate, we will continue NOT to make Top-20 lists, and we will continue to hemorrhage from small business shutdowns and transplants to other states.”

Instead of even more taxpayer money dedicated to fund crony corporate welfare handouts, this money could be used to fund broad-based tax cuts that can spur economic growth. If Rhode Island were to work towards a pro-growth, lower tax and regulatory business climate, there is no reason to believe our state could not share in the same dynamic economic growth that we are now seeing across America. With national jobless claims at 40 year lows, with record low African American unemployment, and with Hispanic unemployment also approaching historic lows, it is a win-win situation for Rhode Island to consider meaningful tax cuts and regulatory reforms.

As with last year’s budget, the Center criticizes the ledgerdemain in the budget regarding the deceptive process referred to as “scooping.” Scooping creates the appearance of more general state revenue receipts, by moving off-budget funding from specific state agencies or quasi-publics (e.g., $5 million from the Student Loan Authority) into the general fund. Over time, these agencies may seek to recoup lost funds by shifting the burden to municipal taxpayers or by other increased fees.

Tax Cuts & Jobs Act

Federal ‘Tax Cuts & Jobs Act’ Should Ease RI Budget Deficits

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 20, 2017

State Budget Will Benefit from Federal Tax Reforms

Economic Growth Will Boost Sales and Income Tax Revenues

Providence, RI – Ironically, Rhode Island’s political class, incessantly in search of new revenues, is criticizing the recently passed “Tax Cuts & Jobs Act,” which could generate more statewide revenues in a more responsible way than any other scheme they have devised themselves.

The Rhode Island Center for Freedom & Prosperity points out that because individuals and businesses necessarily reside in some state, that the economic growth – expected to result from the federal tax reforms – will lead to a boost in state revenues.

In Rhode Island:

  • With about 80% of its residents soon to keep – and spend – more of their hard-earned paychecks … state sales tax revenues will increase
  • With more businesses to keep more of their profits, more and better paying jobs will be created … resulting in more state income tax revenues
  • With more businesses earning more profits and pass through incomes … more capital gains tax and normal income tax revenues will be collected, not to mention increases to individuals’ 401k or other equity positions
  • And, best of all for Rhode Island, it’s the federal government that must deal with the positive or negative budget implications … meaning that the state revenue increases described above come with no strings attached and with no risk.

Further, the reality of the federal reforms, often the target of scorn by the Rhode Island’s political leaders, could mean that more businesses choose to relocate or become established in American, and in states like Rhode Island.

“It is alarming that state officials would deny tax cuts to families and businesses, just to advance their partisan class-warfare narrative,” commented Mike Stenhouse, CEO for the Center. “Because of these federal tax reforms, Rhode Island will no longer need to subsidize taxpayer-funded corporate hand-outs in order to see more and better paying jobs organically grow in our state.”

On the negative side, under the reforms passed today, because state and local income and property tax deductions (SALT) will be limited to ten thousand dollars per year, high-income households and high-value property owners may end up paying more in taxes. This unfortunate circumstance should not be blamed on the federal reforms but, rather, on the state and local governments who have been excessively imposing taxes on its residents … and which have unfairly relied on federal taxpayers in other states to subsidize their high levels of taxation.

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

According to the Center, it is organic economic growth, not corporate welfare schemes, that can 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.

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.

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!

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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!

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.


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


“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.


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!