RI Exchange Director does not Understand Free-Markets

Click this link to hear the clip: press conference-wpromentions-clip

At the State’s press conference following the Supreme Court’s decision, WPRO’s Steve Klamkin brings up our Healthcare Freedom Act proposal to Healthcare Exchange Director, Christine Ferguson, who responded by claiming that the current state exchange is already market based.

Ms. Ferguson does not apparently understand what a free-market is. While she and the Governor may believe they are setting up some kind of market-based “exchange”, it is a far cry from what a true free-market exchange would look like:

  • It is not a free-market exchange when consumers are COERCED to buy something
  • It is not a free-market exchange when it LIMITS the # of private companies that are allowed to sell their products on the exchange
  • It is not a free-market exchange when there are over 69 state and federal MANDATES specifying what coverage must be included in insurance products
  • It is not a free-market exchange when provider premiums are subject to strict PRICING LIMITS
  • It is not a free-market exchange when provider reimbursement rates are mandated by a government agency
  • It is not a free-market exchange when a STATE BUREAUCRACY has to be put in place to run it
  • It is not a free-market exchange when it falls under the FEDERAL AUTHORITY of the Health and Human Services department
  • It is not a “free”-market exchange when insurance provider fees and TAXPAYER FUNDING are required to run the bureaucracy to and to subsidize the purchases of some

In summary, the FREE-MARKET is an exchange in and of itself. It needs no funding, no regulations, and no bureaucracy … consumers choose!

Rhode Islanders want to control their own, very personal healthcare decisions, including:

  • the FREEDOM to purchase insurance or not
  • multiple CHOICES when it comes what insurance products are available
  • ACCESS to affordable and quality care

The only way to achieve these goals is to unleash market forces by removing restrictions and regulations and introducing competition and consumer/patient choices. Our Center’s Policy Brief explains in some detail.

Read the entire policy recommendation here.

Go to our Healthcare homepage here …






Healthcare Exchanges in RI Should be Replaced with a Healthcare Freedom Act

Download a PDF of the complete policy brief here; go to Healthcare home page here

In 2010, Congress passed and President Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) amid great controversy. Passage of the bill did not resolve the dispute, and the law has been a source of uncertainty for state governments around the country.  Moreover, the Supreme Court’s ruling that the law is constitutional did not resolve the instability:

  • There is a substantial likelihood that PPACA opponents in Washington, D.C., will be able to stymie implementation and funding of the law or even repeal it, depending on who ends up controlling the U.S. House of Representatives, the U.S. Senate, and/or the White House after the 2012 elections.
  • Multiple provisions of the law, notably services defined as “essential,” are left to the whims of the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services and will be readily adjusted by future administrations.
  • With the Supreme Court’s recent decision, a movement will surely begin to pass an amendment to the Constitution of the United States making all or part of the law a violation of the founding document.

Therefore, Rhode Island must take the lead — as it has with pension reform and the Global Medicaid Waiver — in ensuring that its residents maintain access to health care service through the maintenance of choices, control of costs through free-market mechanisms, and confidence in the quality of care provided.

Changing Rhode Island’s current arrangement, vis-à-vis health care, must be a top priority for public officials and engaged citizens, alike. The state leads the country in the number of mandates that it imposes on all health plans within its reach. Partially as a result, only three insurers are willing to operate within its borders, and only one of those offers individual plans for direct sale to consumers.

Policy Recommendation: Enact a Health Care Freedom Act for RI Citizens

While there are many policy reforms to consider, the recommendations in a Health Care Freedom Act will put the Ocean State’s health insurance sector back on a path that produces higher levels of competition, provides more choices for consumers, and shields Rhode Island from current and future federal mandates.

  1. Repeal the governor’s executive order creating PPACA Health Insurance Exchanges.
  2. Apply for a State Innovation Waiver to free RI from certain provisions of PPACA, including exchanges.
  3. Enact a Health Care Freedom Act that would:
    1. Open up competition by allowing interstate sales to permit Rhode Islanders to purchase health insurance plans from approved providers in other states.
    2. Allow an “opt out” provision from the state’s currently burdensome level of health insurance mandates and require insurers to openly display the original mandates not included.
  4. Pass an amendment to the state constitution to prohibit the federal government from ever requiring Rhode Island residents to buy health insurance.
  5. Pass a resolution calling for amendment of the federal Constitution to invalidate PPACA.

Rhode Island faces an important decision: whether or not to continue down the path of creating an exchange as described by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Beyond that, Rhode Island must decide whether to rely on the promises of the legislation’s supporters that such policies serve to correct the problems American citizens face in finding affordable health insurance.

Download a PDF of the complete policy brief here …

Minimum Wage Hike Will Cause Loss of 200 Teen Jobs in RI

Watch this video by LearnLiberty.org to see how increasing the minimum wage increases unemployment among low-skilled workers

On the heels of a national report that painted a bleak employment picture for teens, the Rhode Island Center for Freedom and Prosperity issued a policy note today that shows that the Rhode Island General Assembly has made the teen jobs situation even worse in the Ocean State when it raised the state minimum wage by 35 cents to $7.75.

 According to updated data made available to the Center from an earlier study(i) by nationally recognized economists, Rhode Island teens are projected to see 200 fewer jobs this year as a result of the minimum wage hike. This loss, 1% of teens employed in 2011, will hit especially hard on those who do not have high school degrees; this group is expected to suffer 75% of the anticipated loss.

Rhode Island’s teen unemployment rate in 2011 (28.3%) is already 3.4 percentage points higher than the national average of 24.9%. The minimum wage increase will make this discrepancy even worse.

The data, which will be part of a more comprehensive teen employment report the Center plans to release in July, is “yet another example of the death-by-a-thousand-cuts syndrome that is depressing our state’s growth,” said Mike Stenhouse, CEO for the Center. Continual small increases in taxes and regulations are often implemented for compassionate reasons, but it is the contention of the Center that the cumulative effect of these polices has been devastating for area businesses, for the state’s economy, and especially for those seeking work.

“Imagine that because of this minimum wage increase two hundred more Rhode Island teens are not going to have the chance to earn a paycheck, to learn important business skills, or to build their personal résumés,” concluded Stenhouse.

(i) “Update of Evan and Macpherson, 2010.” Economists David Macpherson (Trinity University) and William Even (Miami University) released a study in 2010 that examined the impact of the federal minimum wage increase between 2007 and 2009. 
Media Coverage:
6/19/2012: Prov. Business News, Minimum Wage Bump Will Cost 200 Jobs
6/19/2012: GoLocalProv, Minimum Wage Hike Will Cost 200 Teen Jobs, Group Says

Progress Report: 2013 Budget Does Not Improve Failing Report Card

Quick Links: go to Report Card home page; 2013 budget fails to be bold

Download a PDF of this Progress Report here …

When the RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity released its “Report Card on Rhode Island ‘Competitiveness,'” in February, Rhode Islanders had reason to believe that the General Assembly would do something to address the state’s most pressing issue: jobs.  The last time the unemployment rate was below 11% was in June 2009.

Since February, almost two thousand more Rhode Islanders are out of work, and even more than that gave up and left the labor force.  Perhaps the worst news, though, is that the legislature and its enacted budget did nothing to improve the economic climate of the state and arguably made things worse.

The Report Card

The “Report Card on Competitiveness” ranked Rhode Island nationally and regionally in ten categories: tax burden, business climate, spending & debt, employment & income, K-12 education, energy, infrastructure, public sector, health care, and living & retiring in RI.  For half of those categories, Rhode Island received Fs, meaning that the state ranks very poorly in New England and in the United States.

In no category was Rhode Island’s grade higher than D+, which the state achieved only in K-12 education.

Areas Outside the Economy

Because the report card addresses a variety of aspects of life in Rhode Island, it would be possible for the General Assembly to make improvements in one category at the expense of another.  A worsening score in the energy category, for example, might correspond with improvements in overall business climate.  With its scores so consistently low, however, Rhode Island has no areas of strength to compromise for the sake of improving weaknesses.

The two notable areas in which lawmakers would likely assert positive action, during this legislative session, are education and infrastructure.

With respect to education, the budget made three substantial changes that legislative leaders present as improvements:

  • Combining the Board of Regents for elementary and secondary education with the Board of Governors for higher education and creating a “chancellor” position overseeing all public education in the state.
  • Accelerating the incremental implementation of the state’s new funding formula.
  • Creating an Information Technology Investment Fund to consolidate IT improvements and provide a dedicated funding stream from land sales (excluding land freed up along I-195).

Despite grand assertions made by House Finance Chairman Helio Melo (D, East Providence) during the budget debate, however, bureaucratic restructuring is not obviously a route toward improved results.  Indeed, if a combined board of education creates the opportunity to stifle the forces of reform, it could be a step backwards for the state.

As for the funding formula, while it may represent a more equitable means of allocating resources where they are most needed, the change represents little more than a reshuffling of dollars. Moreover, money is arguably not the critical area in need of reconsideration.

Even the one provision that looks likely to provide true advancement of the state’s education system, investment in IT, is not clearly a net improvement.  The IT Investment Fund will receive land-sale proceeds, but the budget gets the ball rolling with an authorization for $45.3 million in new borrowing.

Debt plagues the state’s infrastructure advancements, as well.  Between T.F. Green Airport and central landfill improvements, the General Assembly authorized an additional $214 million in debt.  That is in addition to $209 million of bond authorizations that will appear on the ballot in November.

Rhode Island is already 47th in the nation and fifth (of six) in New England for state and local debt per capita, according to the report card.  During the House budget debate, Melo informed the representatives that state government’s total debt currently stands at $1.7 billion, requiring annual debt service of $299 million.

This could be the year that the state breaks $2 billion in total direct debt owed.  (Additional obligations, such as pensions and other post-employment benefits [OPEB] are exponentially larger.)

Asphyxiating the Private Sector

Perhaps the most notable example of infrastructure improvement at the expense of other areas of competitive weakness is the authorization of tolls on the Sakonnet River and Jamestown Verrazano Bridges.

It is true that Rhode Island’s bridges are the most deficient in the nation, but tolls are not a clear answer for two reasons.  First, Rhode Island is also worst in the nation for highway cost effectiveness, meaning that a focus on funding will contribute to, rather than alleviate, the problem.  Second, the tolls will place an exorbitant burden on a region that’s already suffering.

An analysis by the Ocean State Current found that the island and lower bay communities dominated the lists of population and employment loss, over the last decade.  Juxtaposing those trends with median income suggests that the people who’ve been struggling the most are those least able to afford hundreds or thousands of dollars in new transportation expenses.

The imposition of regional tolls is not the only area in which the General Assembly constricted Rhode Island’s private sector.  Under the guise of cleaning up licensing laws, the budget added an estimated $1.8 million to the direct cost of doing business in the state.  Whether it’s $25 license renewal fees for hairdressers and manicurists, a $550 fee for in-state wholesalers of frozen desserts, or a $1,090 re-examination fee for physicians, the burden falls most heavily on individuals and small-business owners who are simply trying to participate in the Rhode Island economy.

The same is true of the $11 million in new sales taxes being levied against taxicab drivers, pet groomers, and high-end clothiers, among others.  Last year, hairdressers across the state successfully lobbied to avoid taxes on the services that they provide.  This legislative session, the restaurants successfully quashed Governor Lincoln Chafee’s move to impose a dramatic increase of the meals tax.

It appears that the state government is intent on probing the various segments of Rhode Island’s economy to find areas of lobbying weakness.  Industries able to mount strong public defenses will be spared while others won’t.  The first test is taxes; the second is fees.

Government Self-Preservation

It is true that the General Assembly’s budget for fiscal year 2013 (FY13) represents a slight decrease from its revised budget for FY12 — down to $8.10 billion from $8.12 billion.  However, the budget that the General Assembly enacted one year ago was supposed to hold FY12 spending at $7.70 billion.  In FY11, the final number was $7.72 billion.

In other words, new revenue and debt is translating directly into government expenditures, with a two-year jump of approximately $400 million.

The growth in full-time equivalent (FTE) employees that the budget authorizes is another indication.  During the second term of Governor Donald Carcieri, the number of authorized FTEs declined 2,077, from 16,417 in 2006 to 14,341 in 2010 (numbers differ due to rounding).  Consequently, the ratio of public workers to private-sector workers brought Rhode Island its only grade above a C on the Center’s report card: an A-.

With the FY13 budget, the total FTEs authorized has returned to 15,026, making up approximately one-third of the reduction.  At the same time, the state’s economy has continued to erode, so the number of FTEs per 100 employed Rhode Islanders has returned to its pre-reduction level. There is a clear disconnect between the public and private sectors.

A specific example may be found in seemingly innocuous government restructuring.  In order to process the millions of dollars in federal stimulus money earmarked for Rhode Island, Governor Carcieri created an Office of Economic Recovery and Reinvestment (OERR), currently with a staff of seven.  For FY13, OERR will be transformed into the permanent, state-funded Office of Management and Budget, with an initial staff of eleven.

Yet another example of government’s preservation of its own interests at the expense of the overall economy can be found in article 22, which allocated $2.6 million as a partial bailout of the locally administered Central Falls pension plan.  During the restructuring of the city’s finances through the receivership and bankruptcy processes, police and fire retirees experienced benefit reductions up to 55%.  With state funds, the maximum reduction will now be 25% through FY16, for most retirees.

In effect, a year and a half of revenue from increased professional licensing fees are going to mitigate the harm that Central Falls’ mismanagement did to its personnel. Alternately, the Central Falls bailout could have been funded through the elimination of the OERR now that federal stimulus dollars are drying up.

Competitiveness Is About Priorities and Decisions

On the night it was unveiled, House Minority Leader Brian Newberry (R, Burillville, North Smithfield) referred to the General Assembly’s revision as a “status quo budget.”  But the status quo for the state of Rhode Island is characterized by economic decline, and continuing on that path is a choice.

Between the February release of the Center’s report card and the final passage of the budget, the General Assembly chose to bolster government at the expense of private citizens struggling to build a life in one of the harshest economic environments in the United States.  Between now and the legislators’ return to their chambers, the next round of choices will be voters’.

2013 Budget Fails: Who’s Really Running our Lives?

Quick Links: further analysis of 2013 budget; Report Card on RI Competitiveness

2013 Budget Fails to be Bold

I don’t know about you, but the spectacle of General Assembly members congratulating each other for passing a self-proclaimed “bold” 2013 Budget for Rhode Island and outwardly celebrating by pointing out the tax hikes that they didn’t impose on our citizens and businesses might make you think that our state’s economy is “just fine”.

The measure of a good budget should not be mild improvements to a bad budget proposed by the governor. A few legislators, who understood the shortcomings and economic harm the budget would inflict on some, saw their common sense amendments systematically shot down, one after another.

The whole charade is disturbing to me and should be troubling to all citizens; it is indicative of the tax and spend culture that has become so firmly ensconced on Smith Hill

For example, with regard to the new tax on taxi services, consider cab drivers, who, on average, earn pay near the poverty level. All they want is the freedom to earn a living of their choice. Instead, because of the new sales tax on their industry, they will now see their business, their tips and their profits reduced; they will have to jump through hoops to collect and remit the sales tax to the government; and they will suffer the professional ignominy of having their service trade singled-out as one that must help fund the state’s voracious spending habit. Do you think that today … taxi drivers feel that they are in full control of their own lives?

The Political Class calls this tax an “investment” that is necessary for what they deem are more important programs. Most of us just call it more “wasteful spending” to feed their never-ending appetite for government dependency.

How long will it be before they come after your business sector? After all, in the past few years, a number of industries have been threatened with new tax increases, and regrettably, not all were able to escape the assault.

When I speak with pro business groups, even they consider it a “victory” when certain industries, who have good lobbyists, somehow managed to elude taxation – at least for now. What is the matter with our state? These are not victories. These are symptoms of a culture of failure. What Rhode Island needs is a new “winning” culture.

What our state needs is a new, pro business tax policy that will lead to economic growth and more jobs. The 2013 budget fails in this regard.

What our state needs is to upgrade our standing in all those national categories where we rank last or near the bottom. The 2013 budget fails in this regard.

What our state needs is real relief for the massive pension and health benefits liabilities facing our cities and towns. The 2013 budget also fails in this regard.

What our state needs is freedom of choice for disadvantaged students and families who are condemned to a failed school. The 2013 budget fails in this regard, as well.

And yet, they celebrate. And no one else steps forward to lead.

I am left wonder how many Rhode Islanders are wondering themselves about who’s running their lives. Do we each really still own that sacred freedom? Or is the State now our boss? One that dictates and manages more and more parts of our individual lives by herding us into more and more collective, politically-created buckets?

Do not be fooled by all the self-aggrandized back-slapping. Unless you can afford a strong lobbying group, they are likely scheming to manage you and your business next.

Read our Zero.Zero Sales Tax Executive Summary here …

Nationally Recognized Investigative Reporter Joins The Ocean State Current

Kevin Mooney has appeared on Breitbart and Glenn Beck


Providence, RI — The Ocean State Current, the news division of the Rhode Island Center for Freedom and Prosperity, announced today that Kevin Mooney will join its staff as Investigative Bureau Chief.

“Accountability and transparency are vital to our democracy,” said Mooney, an investigative journalist who reports on the public sector with an eye toward taxpayer interests. “Unfortunately, we see government at the local, state and national level operating at odds with long-standing American principles rooted in the idea of constitutional limited government.”

 Most recently,Mooney served as the Capitol Bureau Reporter for the Pelican Post, the news division of the Pelican Institute for Public Policy in Louisiana. Mooney’s work also appears in the Daily Caller, The American Spectator, The Washington Times, the Washington Examiner and Breitbart.com. A contributor to Fox News, Mooney previously appeared on the Glenn Beck program to discuss the connection between The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and the Association of Community Organizers for Reform Now (ACORN). Mooney was also the first to report on the $53 million in federal funding ACORN has received since 1994.

Mooney will join Justin Katz, managing editor, on The Current’s staff.

“Our Center is thrilled to have Kevin partner with Justin in growing The Ocean State Current into a prominent news source for concerned citizens,” said Mike Stenhouse, CEO for the Center. “Kevin’s proven ability to follow the money and uncover instances of undue special interest influence and cronyism will add a new dimension to our news bureau.”

RI Needs a Criminal Intent Rule to Protect Innocent Citizens

Criminal Penalties Should be Levied only on those with a Guilty Mind


Download the full Policy Brief here …

No person should be convicted of a crime without the government proving that he or she intended to violate a law or knew that his or her conduct was unlawful. Generally, criminal offenses under Rhode Island law include such specific standards, but if they don’t, then a default requirement should apply. The Rhode Island Center for Freedom & Prosperity supports state efforts to protect citizens from unjust punishment because of ambiguous and poorly-drafted criminal offenses.

There are myriad factors required to ensure a fair and just criminal justice system: both the United States’ and Rhode Island’s Constitutions protect the rights of the accused to counsel, speedy trials, and due process, among other guarantees. But those constitutional protections exclude one notable aspect of a fair criminal justice system, which may be so fundamental that it escaped constitutional inclusion in the heady days of constitution writing.

Our full Policy Brief discusses these issues in greater detail.

According the Report Card on Rhode Island Competitiveness, our state grades out at an “F” in the categories of State Lawsuit Climate and in Domestic Migration. Passage of the protections recommended in this Policy Brief would help ensure that a high profile legal case based on some obscure law might not further deter people and businesses from remaining in or moving to the Ocean State.

Our Policy Brief was published on the RIGHT ON CRIME website …

Crosstown E-Battle of Ideas Takes Stage in Providence

Ocean State Current joins Breitbart, Heritage, and Franklin in “Future Of Journalism Summit”

Click here to see national news stories about what people are saying about the Summit …

The Ocean State Current, the news wing of the Rhode Island Center for Freedom and Prosperity, will participate with the Heritage Foundation and the Franklin Center for Government & Public Integrity at this weekend’s events, which will include a tribute to the monumental journalistic achievements of Andrew Breitbart at the “Breitbart Awards Dinner” on Friday, June 8, at 7:00 p.m. The dinner is the main event of the “Future of Journalism Summit” – establishing a center-right beachhead north of the State House, opposite the left-wing Netroots Nation summit to its south – on Friday and Saturday.

Andrew Breitbart pioneered a new media revolution that transformed journalism and the political landscape. As his tragic passing is mourned, many seek to ensure that his legacy is honored and that the movement he spawned continues with the army of citizen activists that he cultivated and inspired to carry the torch for freedom and truth.

The spirit of that movement is represented locally by the RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity, which worked with the Franklin Center in the development of the Ocean State Current, its online news bureau. CEO Mike Stenhouse says, “In terms of both inspiration and practical example, the trail that Andrew Breitbart and these organizations have blazed – to uncover the truth and to provide greater government transparency – has been a guide as we’ve made our own way, here in the Ocean State.”

“Interacting with other journalists in the Franklin network around the country these past few months has been very encouraging,” says the Current’s managing editor, Justin Katz. “It’s easy to feel like the Netroots crowd controls the conversation in this state, so it’s great to have some friends from the other side mingling in the shadow of the Independent Man,” he says, referring to the statue on top of the State House dome.

The first annual Breitbart Awards Dinner will honor three individuals from the realms of 1) professional journalism; 2) blogging; and 3) citizen activism-whose efforts advance the spirit of Andrew Breitbart’s work, which was driven by an indomitable pursuit for truth and accountability that advances those causes on behalf of the public good.

The winners of the 2012 Breitbart Awards:

Professional Journalism: Phillip Klein, The Washington Examiner Blogger: Ace of Spades, Ace of Spades HQ Citizen: Andrew Marcus

Breitbart Awards Dinner Details:

Keynote Addresses by John Fund and Sonnie Johnson, Breitbart Award winners

Breitbart Awards Dinner

Friday, June 8th at 7:00 p.m. EST

Providence Marriott Downtown-1 Orms Street, Providence, Rhode Island

The Franklin Center for Government & Public Integrity supports transparency, accountability, and fiscal responsibility. It trains reporters, produces investigative news content, and holds government officials accountable.

The Heritage Foundation is the nation’s most broadly supported public policy research institute. Its mission is to formulate and promote conservative public policies based on the principles of free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values, and a strong national defense.

Schilling’s Rookie Mistake

Oped by Mike Stenhouse published by the Providence Journal on June 3, 2012

See the ABC-6 interview on this OpEd here …

When All-Star, world champion and potential Hall Of Fame pitcher Curt Schilling stepped from the dugout into the corporate board room, and then into the public-policy arena, he did what most of us did when we first put on our uniforms: He made a rookie mistake.

With the job security of his employees and the investment value of his stakeholders in play, Schilling also took on the public trust of Rhode Islanders when he accepted a $75 million state loan guarantee for funding for his new company, 38 Studios.

While it is now good sport to openly deride Schilling as a hypocrite — or worse — I have a different take on where I think that he may stand to gain a valuable life lesson.

At many points along their athletic journey, most athletes learn the hard way that they must forgo certain activities to be successful in achieving their professional-sports ambitions. At each step along the way, more and more of our energy must be dedicated to our sport if we are to continue to achieve at a higher and higher echelon. This means that such activities as partying, skiing, off-season leisure and hobbies must be curtailed or eliminated to maintain a high level of physical conditioning and emotional focus.

As a rookie in the Major Leagues, I tried to have it all initially: the uniform, on-field success, the night life and the offseason leisure. This formula does not work for most, and it certainly didn’t work for me.

Having experience myself in professional baseball and in the dot-com world as an executive with a $50 million start-up venture, I understand what it takes to succeed. And now, with my experience in public policy, I understand the responsibilities of public officials and publicly financed organizations to taxpayers, it strikes me that Schilling may, likewise, have lost focus and spread himself too thin.

Over the past year, when I saw Schilling regularly at the ESPN studios as a baseball analyst, I kept wondering to myself how he was maintaining focus on growing his company and if he was truly committed to its success. Whether his ESPN gig had anything to do with the problems that 38 Studios now faces we’ll probably never know.

However, when Curt Schilling accepted the loan guarantee by Rhode Island’s taxpayers, he truly stepped into the big leagues. I’m not sure that he understood the commitment required to maintain the public trust. Putting everything that we have into starting a business is the type of entrepreneurship that Americans admire, even if the venture fails. But taking things for granted, especially when that includes acceptance of taxpayers’ hard-earned money, is entirely different.

I disagree with all of those who paint Curt Schilling as some kind of evil or dishonest person. I simply think that he made a rookie mistake and I don’t think he’ll make it again. In the same way that Curt Schilling worked hard to achieve success as a pitcher, I expect that he will re-dedicate himself to making 38 Studios a successful enterprise.

Mike Stenhouse is a former Major League baseball player, a former executive with Myteam.com and now chief executive of the Rhode Island Center for Freedom & Prosperity, a conservative think tank.

©2012, Published by The Providence Journal Co.