Center Calls for Public Transparency re. Criteria for Transitioning Rhode Islanders Back to Work
Commending the Governor for planning to respond later today to calls to make publicly known the modeling data and tools her administration is utilizing to project how the corona-virus pandemic is expected to play out in the near future, the Rhode Island Center for Freedom & Prosperity is calling for further transparency.
On Thursday morning, Mike Stenhouse, chief executive officer of the Center, called on the Governor to outline the specific process, data, and criteria she will use to determine how and when Ocean Staters can safely return to work.
There are many issues and questions the public should be made aware. Further Ocean State employers need advance notice to be able to effectively plan for a safe reopening of their businesses. By transparently sharing her plans with the private sector, she can help build trust among the business community and enhance public confidence in her future actions.
Some of the questions that should be publicly answered are:
- Will the Governor make these decisions unilaterally or in conjunction with the General Assembly?
- What corona-virus metrics and benchmarks does the Governor plan to set … or will the decision be arbitrary?
- What regulations and other restrictions will be put in place? Will these be imposed via executive or legislative action?
“I encourage the General Assembly to find a way to get back to work and help ensure that a reasonable and transparent get-back-to-work process is undertaken.”
The Center’s list of 20 policy ideas to ease the transition back-to-work can be viewed here.
Lawmakers Can Help Pave the Way for Economic & Health Recovery
Elected officials do not have to sit helplessly by and rely on federal aid
Providence, RI – Suggesting multiple reforms that are being enacted in other states, the RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity, the state’s premiere free-market research and advocacy organization, offers state lawmakers 10 more proactive policy ideas that can help Ocean State businesses and families survive the Covid-19 crisis, while also paving the way to economic and health security.
With the crushing impact on our state’s business community, and over 100,000 Rhode Islanders out of work and suffering anxiety about both their medical and financial well-being, the Center updated its prior Covid-19 Public Policy Solutions brief that provides lawmakers with positive legislative ideas that can help provide relief.
“By giving individuals and businesses a little more freedom and flexibility, state lawmakers can provide rescue legislation as counter-measures to the crisis,” suggested Mike Stenhouse, the Center’s CEO. “Our political class must not sit helplessly by and rely solely on federal aid. Other states are taking proactive action; our Ocean State must not fall further behind.”
While Rhode Island may benefit in many ways from various federal rescue packages, the Center recommends that state lawmakers must also do their part and focus on what they can control as well as to find a way to fulfill their legislative responsibilities for recovery during this crisis.
Adding to its #GovernmentDistancing initiative, the Center has added 10 new “emergency” policy ideas to its original March 25 list, designed primarily to keep more Rhode Islanders at work and financially solvent and healthy in the coming recovery months. Included in the 10 new suggested measures are:
- Allow businesses to fully expense capital investments to encourage recovering businesses to invest in machinery and equipment
- Institute reciprocal licensing to make it easier for professionals licensed in other states to work in RI
- Freeze all state and municipal taxes to ensure already distressed individuals and business are not further burdened
- Temporarily suspend prevailing wage laws to decrease pressure on government budgets and lessen the need to increase taxes
- Expand access to tele-medicine services
The full-list of 20 policy ideas and brief explanations can be viewed here.
One of the Center’s ideas was enacted last month, when the Governor ordered that alcoholic beverages could be sold by restaurants as part of take-out orders. Another idea of the Center, to temporarily suspend Internet sales taxes, was previously highlighted in a separate policy brief.
The Center expects to regularly add to its growing list of rescue policy ideas, many of which have been implemented legislatively or by executive order, or are being actively considered in other states.