As the Center recommended over summer 2017, Rhode Island families and businesses would have been better off had the General Assembly not reconvened this year, after prematurely shutting down in June.

Statement on General Assembly Special Session: Negatives Outweigh Positives

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 20, 2017

Negative Measures Outweigh Positive Steps

State Would Have Been Better Off Had Lawmakers Stayed Home

Providence, RI – Capitulation to the harmful progressive-Democrat agenda was enough to turn what might have been a positive special fall session of the state’s General Assembly into a net negative. This according to the nonpartisan Rhode Island Center for Freedom & Prosperity, the Ocean State’s leading pro-family, pro-business research and advocacy organization.

While the package of Justice Reinvestment bills that the Center backed are now heading to the Governor, and while evergreen contracts for government workers and invasive tracking-cameras on highways were temporarily defeated, other negative measures, advanced by the state’s union-progressive wing, far outweighed these positives.


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


“Many Rhode Island families and business will suffer from the intrusive new free-time-off mandates imposed last evening on employers,” said Mike Stenhouse, CEO for the Center. “Another hit to our state’s already dismal business climate, along with fewer good paying job opportunities, will be the result.”

Also according to the Center, in a step backward for constitutional rights, legally exercising one’s first-amendment rights can now lead to termination of one’s second-amendment rights. Further, local property taxes will increase under overly-generous new pension disability guidelines, offsetting the local automobile property tax relief enacted earlier this year.

As the Center recommended over the summer, Rhode Island families and businesses would have been better off had the General Assembly not reconvened this year, after prematurely shutting down in June.

In June, the Center published a full analysis of the 2018 budget, which additionally discusses:

  • The Center’s call for the state to fulfill its promise to cut the sales tax rate to 6.5%
  • How major portions of the progressive agenda are advanced in this budget
  • Per capita spending comparison with our better performing New England neighbors
  • Other deceptive patterns observed in the budget process, including “scooping”
  • Other positive and negative provisions in the budget and impressions of the overall 2017 legislative session

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!

The Center recommends that the voters of Rhode Island should decided the fate of the proposed new PawSox stadium, and avoid eminent domain.

Center Recommends Public Referendum on PawSox Stadium

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
September 14, 2017

Bonds Should Be Approved by Voters

Eminent Domain Reforms Also Recommended

Providence, RI — The Rhode Island Center for Freedom & Prosperity, in seeking to advance good government that represents the people, recommends that the voters of Rhode Island should decided the fate of the proposed new stadium for the Pawtucket Red Sox.

With hearings set to begin on related and controversial legislation, the Center believes an alternative path is a superior approach: where the people of Rhode Island have the question placed directly before them in a 2018 referendum, as is the process for most public bonds. The 38-Studios moral-obligation bond disaster demonstrates what can happen when lawmakers bypass the public.

“There is simply too much distrust of government right now for the public to accept what will be perceived as a backroom deal. If this stadium is to be publicly owned, then the people should have a direct say,” suggested Mike Stenhouse, CEO for the Center. “This is not your typical corporate subsidy deal and has many subtleties. Proponents and opponents should have the chance to make their case to the public and let the chips fall where they may.”


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


Regarding the related issue of eminent domain, the Center encourages state and local officials to avoid setting any precedents before it is clear the public supports the venture. The further Center reiterates its position that the government seizure of private property should never occur for private economic development purposes. However, the fact that the proposed stadium would be publicly owned, presents an added consideration; but is yet another reason why the public should first make the call.

The Center continues to recommend that state eminent domain statutes be reformed to prohibit eminent domain for private uses, similar to the bill (S2409) submitted by Senator Mark Cote (D, Woonsocket) in 2016.

“The Pawtucket Red Sox are all about its fan base. It’s only proper that those fans should decide this issue,” concluded Stenhouse.


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!

After the shock of announced job losses from Benny's & Alexion, will lawmakers continue to push our state towards the progressive anti-business agenda?

Alexion & Benny’s Shock; General Assembly Special September Session; Mandated Paid Leave, Criminal Justice Reform, Hair-Braider Freedom & More

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

September 12, 2017

Benny’s and Alexion Should Serve as Shock to the Status Quo

Special Fall Session: Mandated Paid Leave Would be Yet Another Suffocating Burden on Rhode Island Businesses

Providence, RI — After the reality-shock of announced job losses from Benny’s and Alexion, and when the General Assembly reconvenes next week, Rhode Island legislators will be put to the test: Will they continue to push our state into the progressives’ anti-business, anti-family land of make believe?

The RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity, in seeking to advance a more prosperous society, finds it unacceptable that our Ocean State continues to rank 45th in both family prosperity and in business climate, and that business and individuals continue to flee our state. A pro-family, pro-business agenda that advances cultural and economic well-being in the real world, both from a public policy and civil society perspective is the goal. Related values, according the national Family Prosperity Index, include family self-sufficiency, marriage, and work.

The Center today puts forth mini-statements on some of those issues that the General Assembly is expected to take up during this special session.

Mandated Paid Leave – only in a land of make believe do employer mandates NOT lead to a loss of jobs and/or pay!  The General Assembly will consider and vote on at least two bills that would mandate that most Rhode Island businesses offer paid leave to all employers.  One reason why our Ocean State has the WORST business climate in the nation is exactly this kind of persistent meddling in the free-market, which advances a radical social justice agenda, by demanding employers pay for mandated handouts to their employees. The progressive Fair Shot Agenda would further harm the Ocean State’s 45th rank in family prosperity and sixth worst business climate. Its two anti-business mandates – mandatory paid leave and a minimum wage hike – would impose even more burdens on an already over-taxed and over-regulated private business sector … with the inevitable result being a loss of jobs and a loss of opportunity for meaningful work for Rhode Island families who are struggling to improve their quality of life.

Criminal Justice Reform – in the real world,  keeping families together and productive is the key to prosperity. As part of its Family Prosperity Initiative, the Center, in written testimony to the House Judiciary Committee, joined with advocates from the left in generally supporting the reforms being advanced by our state’s Justice Reinvestment Initiative package of legislation, in the hopes that more people can become more productive members of their families and of society, instead of becoming or remaining unnecessarily embroiled in the criminal justice system. The Center recommends that the gratuitous anti-gun sentencing provisions in H5115 and S0011 be removed.

Hair Braider Freedom – pure fantasy to over-regulate this harmless industry.  The Rhode Island House passed H5436 in May that would exempt hair braiders from burdensome state licensing requirements. The  Center supports regulatory reforms that would free natural hair braiders from the occupational licensing mandates currently imposed on the harmless practice. This licensing burden is especially harmful to many people who would prefer to start new careers and earn paychecks instead of receiving welfare checks. Unfair and unreasonable occupational licensing restrictions must be repealed if we want more Rhode Islanders to have a chance to improve their quality of life and engage in entrepreneurial commerce. Only 14 states, along with the District of Columbia, require hair braiders to acquire a specialized license. In Mississippi and Iowa, hair braiders have to register with the state. Specialty licenses require 600 hours of classes and can cost thousands of dollars.

Pretend “Domestic Violence” Bill Is Actually a Broader Ambush On Second Amendment Rights – Imagine losing your 2nd Amendment rights by exercising your constitutionally guaranteed 1st Amendment rights. This is the untold secret of legislation that appears likely to pass state’s General Assembly this month. The General Assembly will consider voting on some version of H5510 & S0405, the so-called “Domestic Violence” bills. These bills would ostensibly remove the Second Amendment rights of people against whom domestic violence restraining orders have been issued. However, it has been under-reported that these bills would also remove the Second Amendment rights of individuals convicted of a variety of misdemeanor charges, such as cyberstalking or disorderly conduct. This hidden provision has not been subject to proper public debate, and should be of  deep concern to center-right and left lawmakers who are being misled by the radical progressive agenda.   Read More

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!

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!