Rhode Island’s ranking on the Rhode Island Center for Freedom & Prosperity’s Jobs & Opportunity Index (JOI) held at 47th for March 2018, but one of the three subfactors of the index worsened. On the Freedom Factor, which measures employment and jobs against welfare enrollment, Rhode Island fell one spot to 42nd in the country. Six of the 12 datapoints of the index changed for this iteration.
Employment was up from the first-reported number for February, by 737, while labor force was up 677. RI-based jobs, however, decreased by 600. Medicaid enrollment improved a little from the previously reported number, with a decrease of 103, but SNAP (food stamps) more than made up for the difference, jumping about 2%, or 3,300 enrollees, perhaps for reasons having to do with the state’s problematic Unified Health Infrastructure Project (UHIP).
Meanwhile, federal taxation in Rhode Island was up some $310 million, or 2%.
The first chart shows Rhode Island still in the last position in New England, 47th in the country. Regional leader New Hampshire is still in 2nd place, nationally, behind Wyoming. Maine improved one spot, to 18th, while Vermont slipped one, to 21st. Massachusetts also fell one, to 34th, while Connecticut jumped six places forward, to 37th, leaving RI alone as a New England state in the bottom 10, nationally. (CT’s story may not be a good one; almost every datapoint was negative, except gross federal income taxes, which dropped 8.5%.)
The second chart shows the gap between RI and New England and the United States on JOI. In both cases, the Ocean State lost a little ground. On the official unemployment rate, RI saw the opposite trend, closing the gaps modestly.
Results for the three underlying JOI factors were:
Job Outlook Factor (optimism that adequate work is available): RI held on to 18th.
Freedom Factor (the level of work against reliance on welfare programs): RI dropped to 42nd.
Prosperity Factor (the financial motivation of income versus taxes): RI remained 47th.
https://rifreedom.org/wp-content/uploads/RINEUS-JOI-2005-0318.jpg580845RI Center for Freedomhttps://rifreedom.org/wp-content/uploads/logo_sail_300x100.pngRI Center for Freedom2018-04-25 10:56:012018-12-28 12:40:39Jobs & Opportunity Index (JOI), March 2018: A Slip in the Freedom Factor
Once again the social equity extremists are back, those who believe that their views of society should prohibit the free-choice and rights of property owners to make business decisions that are in their own best interests. Once again, RhodeMap Rhode Island and HUD (the federal department of Housing and Urban Development), and its local surrogate, the RI Housing authority, are at it again.
Co-sponsored by multiple progressives House bill #7258 and Senate bill #2301, these so-called Fair Housing Practices which mirrors leftist-inspired legislation introduced in other states, have already been heard in the House and Senate Judiciary Committees this year. The legislation claims it seeks to end discriminatory housing practices by certain landlords. In the progressives’ social-equity land of make believe, any Section-8 lessee applicant (those whose rents are subsidized by the federal government) who are not accepted as a tenant, must have been discriminated against.
According to their progressive fantasyland logic, since people receiving Section-8 vouchers are typically low-income; and because many low-income individuals and families are minorities, then saying ‘no’ to a Section-8 applicant must be because of racism, and therefore must be discriminatory. The actual effect of this legislation, which seeks to extend government control into even more aspects of our personal and business lives, would be to subject landlords to lawsuits or other penalties by automatically assuming that discrimination was the motivating factor.
According to federal guidelines, acceptance of Section-8 vouchers are supposed be voluntary. Yet these Fair Housing Practices would impose a defacto state mandate on landlords to accept any Section-8 application they receive. Even if the landlord makes a legitimate and nondiscriminatory business decision otherwise, they would be at legal risk of being prosecuted for discriminatory actions … or, for being a racist.
We can all agree that any such genuine discrimination is wrong, but there already exists multiple state and federal laws that protect against discrimination. Additionally, there are multiple other reasons for making alternative business decisions.
This legislation is a back-door RhodeMap RI type scheme to advance a social equity agenda that will only tear at the fabric of our society … by making innocent private property owners appear to be bigots.
Based on conversations with landlords and with home and facility based child-care business owners I know, there is a major, legitimate, and non-racial reason why some business prefer not to accept clients subsidized by public money and all the red-tape they would have to go through. In this case, once a landlord accepts a federally subsidized Section-8 tenant, that business is now subject to a whole new array of mandates, red tape, and risks that otherwise, it would not have to worry about.
Under this legislative mandate, landlords would be subject to unfair rules by HUD, which we know from the RhodeMap RI debate years ago, does not care about private property rights. HUD has corrupted its mission of putting low-income people into appropriate housing to the point where it routinely tramples on the rights of other private property owners.
Landlords would be forced to endure annual state inspections, they otherwise would not be subject to, and could even be at potential criminal risk if they did not appropriately “police” their own tenants and report to the state any potential violations Section-8 eligibility guidelines.
This legislation, avidly supported by Rhode Island Housing is a clear extension of the HUD and RhodeMap RI anti property-owner agenda.
Consider that this legislation automatically presumes that our neighborhood brothers and sisters are guilty of discrimination. Our Center recently hosted a luncheon where the nationally acclaimed Arthur Brooks, President of the American Enterprise Institute, spoke of the “solidarity of brotherhood”, where we should work together to help “start up” the lives of those in our community. But how can it possibly be “solidarity” to automatically and divisively claim that legitimate business decisions by business owners in our community are based on bigotry?
Private business owners should be free to make the business decisions that they feel are best for them. Just because some on the progressive-left see inequities in every aspect of our society, does not mean that government should be stepping-in to tell people how to run their businesses.
Already suffering from one of the most hostile business and legal climates in the country, and with a known affordable housing shortage, Rhode Island would become an even more dangerous place to operate as a landlord. Small ‘rental property’ business owners could be forced to spend money unnecessarily to become lawyered-up like a major corporation if they were to be sued … an expense and time most cannot possibly afford. In other states where similar legislation has already been enacted, property owners are indeed being sued, and they are routinely losing in court battles, even though they may have committed no wrong.
Our state would suffer greatly if this unintended consequences of this legislation might drive some landlords out of business, or out of state, and lead to fewer available housing units.
Once again, we ask lawmakers to consider the real-world impacts of such presumptive and intrusive legislation, and to understand that the left’s land of make believe scenario.
https://rifreedom.org/wp-content/uploads/new-home-1540889_1920.jpg12791920Mike Stenhousehttps://rifreedom.org/wp-content/uploads/logo_sail_300x100.pngMike Stenhouse2018-04-24 09:24:082018-04-24 09:59:58Progressive BAD BILLS of the Week: H7528 / S2301 So-called Fair Housing Practices
Building off the successful “Justice Reinvestment” reforms that were enacted in by Rhode Island lawmakers in 2017, the state’s asset forfeiture laws should next come under scrutiny, as they can often lead to the unfettered government seizure of cars, cash, and other private property. While many policymakers might assume that such laws are directed at criminals, in reality, simply being accused of a crime or violating a regulation may be sufficient for the state to take your property.
Rhode Island was recently graded at a D- in a national report by the Institute for Justice for its weak civil forfeiture laws, which, nationally, have led to some of the most egregious infringements of private property rights in the U.S. today. In the past 12 years, over $17 million of private property has been seized in our state.
While the original good intent of forfeiture laws cannot be disputed — removing the illegal gains, resources, and instruments of those committing crimes from their reach — decades of experience has made obvious the need for statutory reforms, long overdue if Rhode Island is to keep pace with criminal justice reforms being made in other states across America.
Current Law: Rhode Island law sets a very low bar on the front-end by allowing the government to seize property on the mere basis of criminal suspicion and for non-criminal regulatory violations. If you don’t hire a lawyer and file a lawsuit to reclaim your own property, you soon lose it. On the back-end, Rhode Island also sets a very high bar for innocent property owners to reclaim what is rightfully theirs. Further, state law allows the government agency that seized your property to keep the majority of it as a means to supplement their own budgets, creating a perverse incentive to violate due process and property rights.
In its January 2018 report, Right To Earn a Living, the Rhode Island Center for Freedom & Prosperity advocated that civil asset forfeiture reforms would improve the State’s poorly ranked business climate, by raising the bar for asset forfeiture from businesses and individuals as well as to adopt better forfeiture administration. The Hopkins Center has researched best practices in the other states that have adopted reforms, and drafted language new criminal forfeiture law that every Rhode Island legislator could support.
Also supported by business groups, the RI ACLU, the RI Families Coalition, and civil society leaders, the bi-partisan legislation (H7640 & S2681) represents a total rewrite of existing statutes and which includes the following key features:
Raised the bar for seizures: Avoids government taking for civil violations and from non-defendant property owners and co-owners, while also building-in legal protections before the state seizes property.
Lowered the bar for due process: Provides less-burdensome, prompt, and streamlined legal procedures for innocent property owners to reclaim seized assets.
Increased transparency: Greater transparency around forfeiture actions so that public officials and citizens have the data to provide appropriate oversight. The 4-pages of new reporting provisions include keeping track of and reporting how much the government seizes, whether property owners are ever convicted of a crime, and how much money comes in from those seizures, as opposed to the 4-lines of reporting in current law.
Enhanced administration: Improves administration of forfeiture programs in order to increase the credibility of law enforcement as they conduct permitted seizures; including prohibition of sale of assets for any person’s gain and a streamlined process for returning property.
Budget accountability: Unelected bureaucrats in state and local agencies should not be empowered to manage profits from asset forfeitures or be free from public accountability. Legitimately seized moneys go to the state’s general fund where duly elected officials decide if and how to redistribute them.
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!
https://rifreedom.org/wp-content/uploads/sgsesnlv.png378640RI Center for Freedomhttps://rifreedom.org/wp-content/uploads/logo_sail_300x100.pngRI Center for Freedom2018-04-20 09:24:312018-12-28 12:40:42Asset Forfeiture Reform in Rhode Island: Summary of 2018 Legislation – H7640 and S2681
Protest at Church Latest in String of Intolerance; Fuels Hate and Divides Communities
“Solidarity of Brotherhood” Approach Recommended
Providence, RI — Having recently hosted a luncheon where the unifying theme presented in the keynote address was that of the “solidarity of brotherhood,” the RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity decries the intolerance recently exhibited by the progressive-left against those they disagree with.
The hate-filled protest by progressive activists Thursday evening at a Providence church is the latest in a string of at least five known incidents where mainstream conservative views have been attacked by extremists from the left, who represent a minority view.
On April 10, Arthur Brooks, President of the American Enterprise Institute, provided an inspirational speech at the Center’s leadership luncheon. With “life entrepreneurship” as his central theme, Brooks encouraged the bipartisan group of lawmakers and civic leaders in the audience to advance a “start up your life” attitude; that by supporting the unique abilities – and weaknesses – of each person, society can benefit from such solidarity.
“Conversely, the hate from the progressive-left, and which is cheered-on by the media, is corrosive to society. Thankfully the Providence police were on site last night to quell hostilities,” said Mike Stenhouse, the Center’s CEO. “In keeping with Arthur Brooks’ message, and in what our Center is attempting to accomplish with its RI Families Coalition, civil society leaders must call for an end to these reflexive and combative over-reactions, and instead advocate for a more reflective and collaborative approach. Open and respectful debate is the cornerstone of our great American democracy.”
The RI Family Prosperity Initiative, the latest initiative of the Center, demonstrates strong familial and societal cultural unity are inextricably intertwined with economic prosperity.
https://rifreedom.org/wp-content/uploads/IMG_5758-2.jpg30244032RI Center for Freedomhttps://rifreedom.org/wp-content/uploads/logo_sail_300x100.pngRI Center for Freedom2018-04-20 08:58:462018-04-20 09:16:11STATEMENT on Church Protest: Progressive Hateful Intolerance of Speech is Divisive to Society
One of America’s Leading Conservative Thinkers, Arthur Brooks, Inspires Over 60 Local Leaders
Speaks of “Life Entrepreneurs” with a “Start Up Lives” Culture
Providence, RI — In front of over 60 political, business, civil society, and veteran leaders, Arthur Brooks, the President of the American Enterprise Institute, provided an inspirational speech at a leadership luncheon hosted by the RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity.
With “life entrepreneurship” as his central theme, Brooks encouraged the lawmakers and civic leaders in the audience to advance a “start up your life” attitude among the people of Rhode Island. That by taking the risk of investing love, time, and commitment to the important people and self-improvement opportunities in one’s life, that this “start up your life” attitude will bring happiness, prosperity, and overall returns on that investment many times over.
“The feedback from the bipartisan attendees, whether liberal or conservative, was overwhelmingly positive,” said Mike Stenhouse, the Center’s CEO. “As only Arthur Brooks can do, he challenged us intellectually to consider the kind of moral, family, and work culture we want to have in our state.”
Brooks’ powerful message supports the RI Family Prosperity Initiative that the Center has recently focused on … that strong familial and societal cultural factors are inextricably intertwined with economic prosperity.
Photos from the event, and a brief biography of Brooks can be viewed here.
https://rifreedom.org/wp-content/uploads/IMG_0656.jpg30244032RI Center for Freedomhttps://rifreedom.org/wp-content/uploads/logo_sail_300x100.pngRI Center for Freedom2018-04-11 10:03:082018-04-11 11:31:41Arthur Brooks Inspires Audience at Center’s Leadership Luncheon
Progressive Land of Make Believe Bad Bill of the Week: Paying Families to Move to Rhode Island
Progressive’s Ignorant, Government-Centric Mindset Will Continue to Doom the Ocean State
Providence, RI –– Progressive lawmakers are once again seeking to hand out “free stuff,” this time to wealthy-out of staters, in a misguided attempt to bribe them to move to Rhode Island in order to save the state from losing one of its two prized U.S. House Congressional seats.
“If we have to pay families, students, and businesses to move to or remain in Rhode Island, to survive our state’s oppressive tax and regulatory climate, then our state is already doomed,” said Mike Stenhouse, the Center’s CEO. “Worse than the obvious face-value inanity of the bill, the ignorant belief of how an economy and family dynamics actually work is what is most troubling. The legislation openly acknowledges the negative economy in our state, yet, as with other progressive policies, it tries to band-aid the symptom rather than cure the core illness.
The Center’s full post describes the many ‘make believe’ assumptions underlying the legislation, which could cost families and businesses up to $300 million:
That the real solution to RI’s economic and population stagnation are not staring lawmakers directly in the face …
That families want to be dependent on government programs …
That this “wealthy-welfare” scheme. like the state’s corporate-welfare strategy, is fair, and will improve overall economic conditions …
That RI’s population will actually increase …
Other Bad Bills: An interactive table of other progressive bad bill candidates, as well as posts and video commentary on previously tabbed “progressive bad bills of the week” can be found at RIFreedom.org/Bills.
https://rifreedom.org/wp-content/uploads/Free-Stuff.png10001500RI Center for Freedomhttps://rifreedom.org/wp-content/uploads/logo_sail_300x100.pngRI Center for Freedom2018-04-02 10:06:492018-04-02 10:06:49Ignorant $10K-Pays-the-Way-to-RI Bill Named “Bad Bill of the Week”
Progressive lawmakers are once again seeking to hand out “free stuff”, this time to wealthy-out of staters, in a misguided attempt to bribe them to move to Rhode Island. The legislation, House bill H8018, has been named the “Progressive Land of Make Believe Bad Bill of the Week” by the RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity, and is an individual-level extension of the state’s failed corporate welfare strategy.
“If we have to pay families, students, and businesses to move to or remain in Rhode Island, to survive our state’s oppressive tax and regulatory climate, then something is very wrong,” said Mike Stenhouse, the Center’s CEO. “Worse than the obvious face-value inanity of the bill, the ignorant belief of how an economy and family dynamics actually work is what is most troubling. The legislation openly acknowledges the negative economy in our state, yet, as with other progressive policies, it tries to band-aid the symptom rather than cure the core illness. ”
Dubbed by the Center as the #10kPaysTheWay Act, the legislation, sponsored by Representative Carlos Tobon, a progressive-Democrat from Pawtucket, pretends that taxpayer funded government hand-outs would be incentive-enough for upper-middle income people to relocate their lives to the Ocean State. It is the false premise of the progressive ideology that more government dependency is what people want; in this case, in desperate hope of increasing our state’s population so as to avoid losing one of its two U.S House of Representative seats after the 2020 national census is tabulated.
While it is unclear how much of a population increase Rhode Island might need to preclude losing a Congressional seat, the legislation seeks to pay up to 30,000 new families. The cost to state taxpayers for this program, estimated at $300 Million, at the proposed handout rate of $10,000 per family … but only to wealthier families that make over $100,000 per year.
There are so many make-believe assumptions underlying this bill that do not exist in the real world, that it is difficult to know where to begin to enumerate them:
Families have left Rhode Island not because of deficient government programs, but because of sub-standard job and educational opportunities. Until we can break away from the self-imposed budgetary constraints and special interest influences that impede reforms in our state, Rhode Island’s bottom-10 business climate and family prosperity rankings, will continue to make Rhode Island a relatively inhospitable place to build a career and raise a family.
This regressive ‘wealthy-welfare’ scheme is unfair. Not only would all current Rhode Island residents, including low-income families, be taxed more so that wealthy out-of-state families can be given our money, but those in-state families that have worked hard to become successful will receive nothing. This is similar to how existing Ocean State businesses have to pay for corporate tax credit handouts to other companies, often their own competitors.
People not want to be dependent on government. Current and would-be Rhode Islanders want to live productive, soul-fulfilling, self-sufficient, and prosperous lives … even though progressives like to pretend this that more government programs define success.
A government hand-out is not enough to overcome the “long-term and short-term negative economic trends” that the legislation itself admits are currently plaguing our state. Already damaged by too many current job-killing progressive policies, more progressive policies cannot possibly make our state more attractive to families and entrepreneurs.
Rhode Island’s population would not likely increase. As with most tax schemes, progressives pretend that there will be no adverse economic impact or other unintended consequence to their simple-minded and purely emotional-based policies. In the real world, tax policy drives behavior. In this case, the increased taxes that will be heaped on every family and business will cause even more people to flee our state.
Most importantly, progressives pretend that the obvious solution to Rhode Island’s economic and population stagnation is not staring them directly in the face. Proving that the theoretical benefits of the tax and regulatory reductions that our Center have espoused since its inception in 2011, and which is the foundation of conservative economic policy, the recently implemented federal tax and regulatory reductions have led to unprecedented economic optimism and renewed economic growth across America.
Similarly, if Rhode Island were to abandon its government-centric corporate-welfare and wealthy-welfare agenda, and instead start working on creating a reality-based and improved economic climate, where businesses and families can thrive on their own and without costly government assistance, the Ocean State might soon be able to regain the Congressional seat that progressive policies have likely already doomed us to lose.
https://rifreedom.org/wp-content/uploads/Free-Stuff.png10001500Mike Stenhousehttps://rifreedom.org/wp-content/uploads/logo_sail_300x100.pngMike Stenhouse2018-04-02 09:23:442018-04-04 09:00:51Progressive Land of Make Believe Bad Bill of the Week: $10K Pays The Way (H8018)