The Center questions how many people Mr. Sabitoni would say died because of dog-grooming? Responding to statements from a prominent union leader about if the Center wants to see workers die, we defends the professionally researched policy brief it published last week and decries the knee-jerk, childish reactions from its critics. We call on Sabitoni to make a retraction of his statement.

Center Calls for Retraction of “Fatalities” Statement by Prominent Public Official in Response to its Regulatory Reform Report

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

February 13, 2018

Serious Debate Encouraged – Not Fear-mongering – When it Comes to Easing Regulatory Burdens on Workers and Employers

Center Calls on Sabitoni to Retract Outrageous Statement

Providence, RI — Responding to statements from a prominent union leader about whether or not the RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity wants to see workers die, the Center defends the professionally researched policy brief it published last week and decries the knee-jerk, childish reactions from its critics.

In its February 13 story on the Center’s RIght To Earn a Living policy brief, the Providence Journal cites a number of quotes from Michale Sabitoni, president of the RI Building & Construction Trades Council, who directly implied that the Center would want to see more industry fatalities.

“It is our Center’s goal to engage in collaborative and thoughtful debate on this important business and economic issue; not to resort to combative and mindless attacks,” advised Mike Stenhouse, CEO for the Center. “Mr. Sabitoni should be careful when it comes to blatant fear-mongering, as Speaker Mattiello and Congressmen Cicilline themselves support regulatory reform. Does Mr. Sabitoni believe they, too, want workers to die? I challenge him to retract his outrageous statement.”

The Speaker of the House has publicly called for reforms to business regulstions. Also, Congressman Cicilline was quoted in the policy brief as averring that over-licensing “is nothing short of the weaponization of safety requirements against the economic security of working American families.”

The Center questions how many people Mr. Sabitoni would say died because of dog-grooming? Responding to statements from a prominent union leader about if the Center wants to see workers die, we defends the professionally researched policy brief it published last week and decries the knee-jerk, childish reactions from its critics. We call on Sabitoni to make a retraction of his statement.

The Center further questions how many people Mr. Sabitoni would say died because of hairbraider, dog-grooming, or sign-language interpreter accidents… which were the kinds of occupations the report focused on? National research indicates that licensing mandates often mainly serve to protect established businesses from competition, and less so to protect the safety of workers and consumers.

The RIght To Earn a Living report, which provides a philosophical overview of proper and improper occupational licensing practices, also:

  • Highlights the often dubious motives behind specific regulatory mandates
  • Makes a connection to our state’s poor ranking on the Family Prosperity Index
  • Describes many specific examples of over-regulation
  • Includes is a sortable table of Rhode Island’s rank in 102 low-to-moderate-income licensed occupations
  • Summarizes the positive steps that ORR is taking
  • Recommends a number of broad and specific legislative solutions

Additional links to compelling videos and other pertinent information about regulatory reform can be found on the Center’s home page for the occupational licensing issue: RIFreedom.org/RIghtToEarn.

In response to a call from the Rhode Island Speaker of the House, and following the lead of the executive branch, the Rhode Island Center for Freedom & Prosperity, in a new report, calls on lawmakers to enact regulatory reform to the state's overburdensome mandates.

Center Answers Speaker’s Call; Suggests Major Regulatory Reforms in New Occupational Licensing Report

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 6, 2018

The Right to Earn a Living Should Not Require Government Permission

Speaker of the House and Governor on Right Track

Providence, RI — In response to a call from the Rhode Island Speaker of the House, and following the lead of the executive branch, the RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity, in a new report released today, calls on lawmakers to enact reforms to the state’s onerous regulatory regime. Such reforms would provide more workers with the #RIghtToEarn a living without government permission and improve the overall climate for small businesses.

The report, RIght To Earn a Living, lays out the case why many of Rhode Island’s regulatory and occupational licensing mandates should be reformed or repealed, after the Ocean State received yet another bottom-10 national ranking in a late 2017 Institute for Justice report.

“Millennials and many other Rhode Islanders dream, too. The future of our state’s workforce and our capacity to attract commerce is at stake,” warned Mike Stenhouse, CEO for the Center. “Increasingly, ‘gig’ and ‘shared’ economies will be the basis on which individuals and families will seek to cobble together a living, yet our state and municipal governments continue to discourage such work with a heavy-handed, overly burdensome regulatory approach. This must change.”

In response to a call from the Rhode Island Speaker of the House, and following the lead of the executive branch, the Rhode Island Center for Freedom & Prosperity, in a new report, calls on lawmakers to enact regulatory reform to the state's overburdensome mandates.

In his prepared remarks to open the 2018 Rhode Island General Assembly session, Speaker Nicholas Mattiello, in recognizing that the business community is “the engine that drives the economy,” called for “more progress made in the area of regulatory reform,” because our state “can and must be more friendly to businesses.”

The Center concurs. In its report it recommends specific steps that the legislative branch can take, effectively following the lead of the executive branch’s Office of Regulatory Reform (ORR), under Governor Raimondo, which itself is in the process of implementing aggressive new reforms that deal with regulations promulgated by state agencies.

The RIght To Earn a Living report, which provides a philosophical overview of proper and improper occupational licensing practices, also:

  • Highlights the often dubious motives behind specific regulatory mandates
  • Makes a connection to our state’s poor ranking on the Family Prosperity Index
  • Describes many specific examples of over-regulation
  • Includes is a sortable table of Rhode Island’s rank in 102 low-to-moderate-income licensed occupations
  • Summarizes the positive steps that ORR is taking
  • Recommends a number of broad and specific legislative solutions

Additional links to compelling videos and other pertinent information about regulatory reform can be found on the Center’s home page for the occupational licensing issue: RIFreedom.org/RIghtToEarn.

It is a lower minimum wage that will make our state more competitive with our neighbors. We should be in a competition for employers.

Progressive’s “Fair Pay Act” Could Lead to $125/mo Lower Earnings. Expansion of “Training Wage” and EITC Recommended by Center.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 31, 2018

Resulting Reduced Earnings Would Harm Low-Wage Workers, Employers, and Economy

Expansion of “Training Wage” Recommended to Give Teens a Leg Up to Earn Vital Work Experience

Providence, RI — With the legislative onslaught from the progressive-left against employers and job growth now in full gear, the RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity counters the misinformation put forth by supporters of the misguided “Fair Pay Act,” while offering more productive alternatives.

With the Ocean State already suffering from one of the worst state business climates and family prosperity rankings in the nation, the Center has published ample research over the years that demonstrates that the very people progressives seek to aid are the people who will most likely be hurt by new wage mandates. The Center’s research concluded:

    • Job losses, or a cut in hours worked, for many of the same people the legislation is intended to help
    • The vast majority of minimum wage workers are not heads-of-household, who need to earn a living wage for their family
    • It is a lower minimum wage that will make our state more competitive with our neighbors. We should be in a competition for employers.
    • Increased minimum wage mandates decrease job growth and economic activity
    • The often overlooked “wage-differential” factor will harm many employers with regard to massive increased costs for their non minimum wage workers

The Center’s findings have recently been backed up by actual results from the city of Seattle’s own findings, following its disastrous rush to force job-producers to pay a $15 minimum wage. The University of Washington study concluded that employment losses associated with the $15 mandate actually reduced total employee earnings, lowering the average earnings of low-wage employees by $125 per month.

Further, as Rhode Island employers already voluntarily engage in fair-pay practices, the attempt by progressives to mandate gender pay equity cannot be fairly enforced and would also lead to unintended adverse consequences, .

“When employers are faced with high financial or legal risk when making employment decisions, they will naturally avoid such decisions and resort to less risky employment practices,” commented the Center’s CEO, Mike Stenhouse. “The result will inevitably be that fewer women, fewer low-skilled job-seekers, and fewer teens will be hired.”

To give teens a leg up in obtaining vital work experience and spending money, and as a counter to the adverse impact of higher minimum wage mandates, the Center suggests that Rhode Island’s existing “Training Wage” provisions be expanded to provide for a greater wage differential, to more teens, and in a greater number of work environments for the allowable “exceptions” to the minimum wage laws (www.dlt.ri.gov/ls/minwage.htm). Such reforms would make hiring seasonal and part-time workers a win-win situation for employers and teens, and should be designed so as not displace more experienced or full-time employees.

And, as it has advocated in recent years, the Center also recommends expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), as a more effective way to bolster incomes for low-wage family workers. EITC tends to be an incentive to work more hours and, as opposed to most other public assistance programs, can put families on a path to economic independence, without risking opportunities for work. Combined with other
public assistance programs, more families can more quickly rise out of poverty when family members are actually working.

STATEMENT: Center Joins with RI Families Coalition to support Freedom to Work for Hair Braiders

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 1, 2017
Hair Braiders Should Enjoy Freedom to Pursue Work

Providence, RI — The Rhode Island Center for Freedom & Prosperity today joins with the RI Families Coalition in support of regulatory reforms that would free natural hair braiders from the occupational licensing mandates currently imposed on the harmless practice.

Legislation sponsored by Representative Anastasia Williams (H5436) would allow natural hair braiders to engage in legal work without the mandate to obtain the same permission from the government (an occupational license) that is required of cosmeticians and hairdressers.

“This licensing burden is especially harmful to many people who would prefer to start new careers and earn paychecks instead of receiving welfare checks,” commented Mike Stenhouse, CEO for the Center. In 2016 Rhode Island ranked a dismal 44th in ‘entrepreneurship’ according to the national Family Prosperity Index. “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.”

Anti Free-Market, Protectionist Policies? It is a common scheme for advocates of certain industries to lobby government to impose strict licensing requirements in order to create barriers to competition. According to a 2012 report by the Center, many such occupational licensing mandates have a disproportionate and negative impact on low-income workers, who often can’t afford the time or money to meet the sometimes onerous and unnecessary requirements.

Further, the Institute for Justice, in 2016, reported that there were 16 states in the United States that required hair braiders to get a “cosmetology” license, which could involve spending hundreds or thousands of hours in training and hundred or thousands of dollars on tuition or fees. In these cosmetology classes, students have to learn how to use chemical treatments and how to cut hair – tasks that have nothing to do with braiding hair.

Additionally, 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.

However, in recent years, many states, understanding the anti-commerce nature of such “protectionist” policies, have moved to reverse similar anti-jobs mandates. With regard to providing hair braiders the freedom to work, the states of Indiana, South Dakota, Iowa among others have considered licensing repeals for this specific vocation.

BEST & WORST BILLS of 2016: Uber Killer Among Worst Bills

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 17, 2016

Radical Uber Killing Bill Would Harm Rhode Island’s Already Struggling Families

Providence, RI — While Rhode Island ranks 48th on the Jobs and Opportunity Index (JOI), demonstrating the deep need for new work within our state, the House is considering a bill that would kill ride sharing services like Uber or Lyft. These services are an efficient and innovative part of Rhode Island’s economy, and should be given a chance to prosper according to the RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity, which today updated its list of the BEST and WORST bills of the 2016 General Assembly session.

By adding unreasonable burdens, H8044, sponsored by House Majority Whip Rep. Jay Edwards (D, Portsmouth), would impose heavy regulations and fees for transportation network companies (like Uber), including (among other things) $150 fees for each driver, unusual insurance regulations, bans against cash use, bans on driver gun licensing, and disability mandates. As seen in other states, legislation like this could force Uber or Lyft to leave the Ocean State due to government interference.
At a higher level, once again General Assembly lawmakers in 2016 are on track to continue a multi-year, negative trend of public policy that will reduce economic justice for Rhode Islanders. This according to the 2016 General Assembly Freedom Index, an interactive, live tool published by the nonpartisan Center.
Also of note, 14 individual lawmakers currently have scores above zero, while in 2015 not a single Representative or Senator earned a positive score.
Lawmakers and the public are encouraged to visit the Legislation tab on the 2016 Freedom Index to determine the bill rankings for the majority of bills that have been rated, but not yet voted on. The “Summary” tab displays individual lawmaker scores.
Summary: As of May, of the 324 bills that have qualified for the index:
  • 234 bills are rated negatively, with only 87 bills receiving a positive score, and 3 yet to receive a rating
  • The negative bills would total a (-370) cumulative score, if all were to be voted on, while the positive bills would produce a +125 score, resulting in a net (-245)overall General Assembly rating
  • Led by Senator John Pagliarini (R, Portsmouth) just 14 of 113 lawmakers can currently boast a positive individual score, consisting of 1 Democrat, 11 Republicans, and 2 Independents; with 4 in the Senate and 10 in the House
Although not all 2016 bills have received final ratings, it is clear that the few positive pieces of legislation are massively outweighed by the much greater number of negative bills, resulting in a net negative impact, as has occurred in all prior years evaluated. The Center notes that not all bills have received final reviews and that the public should check back regularly for updated bill ratings and legislator rankings.
Additional resources are available on the main RI Freedom Index page, including a number of online and interactive tools and information for users, with links to scores from prior years:

Policy Reform: Reduce Occupational Licensing Mandates

Occupational licensing laws hurt low income workers in Rhody

The quid-pro-quo cycle of Cronyism

The quid-pro-quo cycle of Cronyism

Rhode Island workers should be free of unnecessary fees and licensing requirements when pursuing an opportunity to earn a living, especially lower income workers hoping to embark on a new career path. Consumers will enjoy lower prices when some of these barriers are torn down.

 

With the 2nd most burdensome level in New England and 13th nationally, Rhode Island makes it more difficult and costly for many of us to embark on new careers. During these trouble economic times in the Ocean State, it is especially important that RI workers have enhanced freedom and face fewer barriers when beginning gainful employment.

A. Eliminate the Annual Minimum Corporate (Franchise) Tax

While formally a tax, this entrepreneur-killing law is really more of a licensing fee. It requires all corporate entities – brand new or not; profitable or not – to pay a minimum fee of $500 per year to the state in order to retain its license to do business – yet another disincentive to start a business that can create jobs.

B. Other Occupational Licensing Reforms:

  1.  Create a “sunrise” provision that requires advocates of new licensing proposals to prove their need before they are approved.
  2.   Ensure that all licensing boards have a super-majority of members drawn from the general public rather than the profession itself.
  3.   Replace mandatory licensing with voluntary certification in professions that do not directly affect the safety of the general public.
  4.   Implement a “sunset” provision that requires all other current licensing laws to expire, unless they are periodically reauthorized after a rigorous review process.
  5.   Enact legislation protecting the right to earn a living.

View the Center’s “Occupational Licensing” policy brief here … 

View Occupational Licensing Study by the Institute for Justice … “(Licensing) Boards Behaving Badly”