For Earth Day, “No TCI Gas Tax” Letter Sent to Governor McKee by 12 Advocacy Organizations and Citizens Groups

Massive Burdens on Businesses & Families with No Environmental Benefit

   

Providence, RI – On Earth Day 2021 (April 20-22), a coalition of 12 advocacy and citizens groups joined the Center’s prior call on Governor Daniel McKee to withdraw Rhode Island from the controversial TCI Gas Tax regional compact, ostensibly designed to reduce carbon emissions, but, which in reality, is nothing more than a pure money grab.

The National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB) and the RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity, authors of the open letter, thanked McKee for his prior voiced support for the small business community. The coalition’s letter went on to point out how artificial new fuel taxes, the goal of the Transportation & Climate Initiative (TCI), would create large and unnecessary costs on the private sector – for no environmental benefit.

With a TCI Gas Tax bill expected to be submitted soon, after former Governor Raimondo signed-on to the TCI scheme in 2020, the 12 group coalition also called on the current Governor to pledge to veto any related legislation.

“The dishonesty of TCI proponents is alarming,” claimed the Center’s CEO, Mike Stenhouse. “They falsely claim they can achieve major emissions reductions with a minor gas tax. In reality, the multi-year plan would raise fuel taxes by 40 to 50 cents per gallon … and would do virtually nothing to reduce global carbon emissions.”

The letter cited studies and public polls demonstrating that the highly regressive gas tax, and the projected $1200 per family cost, are highly unpopular among the public. A petition opposing TCI has already generated over 10,000 emails to state lawmakers.

The coalition letter also discusses the competitive advantage the Ocean State would enjoy regionally by not joining the TCI compact and keeping fuel taxes where they are.

The letter concludes it appeal to McKee by stating: “Withdrawing our state from TCI would be a terrific first-step and would send a strong signal that you are serious about improving our state’s dismal business climate.”

In March, the Center unilaterally called on McKee to withdraw from TCI. After receiving strong support, this larger coalition effort was put together.

The entire letter and a listing of all 12 coalition signatories can be found here.

Executive powers

Flanders, Stenhouse Provide Testimony Calling for an End to Unchecked Executive Branch Emergency Powers

“Appalled” that a state Senator is a “big fan” of unconstitutional EOs

Providence, RI – Former state Supreme Court Justice and board member Robert Flanders, as well as CEO Mike Stenhouse, provided testimony on behalf the Rhode Island Center for Freedom and Prosperity at yesterday’s Senate Oversight Committee hearing on the emergency Executive Orders issued during the current pandemic.

“I’d like to thank Chairman DiPalma for holding this important hearing,” commented Stenhouse. “However, I was very disappointed in the lack of interest in providing balanced government by most of the other committee members.”

Former judge Flanders submitted written testimony which, in part, stated: “Rhode Island’s Emergency Powers Act should be legislatively reformed to provide for more democratic emergency governance, along with a re-examination of the statutory parameters of the Governor’s emergency powers and the related roles of the legislative and judicial branches of state government.”

Flanders, whose testimony listed many areas of concern regarding executive over-reach and potentially unconstitutional executive orders, has also publicly stated that “there is no pandemic exception to the Constitution.”

Senate Oversight Committee Hearing on Executive Powers

Stenhouse, in his verbal testimony (beginning at the 50:35 mark), firmly stated that he was “appalled” that a sitting Senator (Stephen Archambault) openly averred (40:45) at the hearing that he was a “big fan” of an unconstitutional executive order described by  an attorney from the executive branch. The Senator would later double-down on his absurd assertion (58:45).

Stenhouse decried the legislative branch’s lack of oversight of the executive branch – especially the publicly transparent and vigorous debate that would accompany such oversight – during the still-ongoing declared state of emergency. He called for reforms that would require General Assembly approval to extend emergency Executive Orders beyond their initial 30-day period.

Stenhouse also listed 10 states that have already passed or were moving similar legislation, after it became clear that existing law in many states provided too much unchecked power to the executive branch during states of emergency:

Kentucky, Utah, and Ohio have already passed related laws; while West Virginia, Arizona, Pennsylvania, North Dakota, Texas, North Carolina, and Indiana are expected to pass laws or constitutional amendments. These legislative actions, generally and among other items, would place time limits on executive emergency powers and would require the legislature to extend emergency orders by joint resolution.

Only one committee-member, Senator Jessica De La Cruz, expressed support for limiting emergency executive powers by requiring legislative approval.

How the Ocean State Should Spend Its Federal COVID Relief Funds

Background

The old saying goes, “there’s no such thing as a free lunch,” but advocates of the left-wing’s modern monetary theory (MMT) want you to think there is.

Under traditional economic theory, every government dollar spent or borrowed must be eventually paid back, leading to upward pressure on taxes imposed on the citizenry. But according to this more-recent socialist monetary theory, federal governments that control their own currencies, as does America, should be free to print (without backing) and spend as much money as they desire to fulfill their political and societal goals, without regard to debt levels or offsetting funding via tax and other revenue receipts. According to today’s Left, there can be as many free lunches as they can possibly imagine.

In reality, the MMT economic approach is a myth, albeit a popular one. As has resulted in virtually every socialist country, most recently Venezuela, this approach to wanton government spending will necessarily lead to disaster over the mid-to-long term: hyper-inflation and massive devaluation of the core currency … and inevitable economic despair.

But most politicians are concerned only with the short-term time-period of their political careers.

Since states cannot print their own money out of thin air and must operate under a balanced budget, leftist MMT advocates have devised a scheme whereby the federal government will print trillions in “fake money,” spend some on what it desires, and then distribute the rest to states and localities to spend as they wish.

While anyone with an economic background knows that this irresponsible approach will eventually backfire, the illusion of a free lunch will become widely promulgated… and will be highly popular among an unsuspecting citizenry.

Localities and states across America will soon be receiving a significant windfall in millions and billions of dollars of perceived free money from the federal government under the guise of COVID relief funds. How to productively spend that money is a public policy question that every governor, mayor, town or county manager, and legislative council will soon have to consider.

The Federal Rules

According to the relevant language in the actual federal legislation, there are generally authorized “uses” for the funds, along with a few specifically barred uses. State and local government will have approximately two-and-one-half years to spend the money, with all funds to be spent by December 31, 2024.

The American Rescue Plan Act provides $350 billion to state and local governments, with $219.8 billion distributed to states, territories and tribal governments and $130.2 billion for local governments.

In general, the money is authorized to be used for:

  • Costs incurred to respond to the pandemic emergency or its negative economic effects, including assistance to households, small businesses, nonprofits, and affected industries (such as tourism, travel, and hospitality)
  • Premium pay for eligible workers who do essential work
  • Replacing lost tax revenue relative to revenue collected in the most recent fiscal year
  • Investments in water, sewer, and broadband infrastructure

States are expressly prohibited from using the funds to directly or indirectly offset a reduction in net tax revenue during the covered period (March 1, 2021, through December 31, 2024) or to delay the imposition of any tax or tax increase. States are also prohibited from using the funds to make deposits into pension funds. Notably, local governments are also prohibited from using the funds to make deposits into pension funds. However, local governments are not prohibited from using the funds for tax relief.

Most of the data and analysis in this report was originally developed in partnership with Marc Joffe, Senior Policy Analyst at Reason Foundation, and Michael Lucci, Senior Policy Advisor at State Policy Network.

National Highlights

  • State and local governments are expected to experience $140 billion in revenue losses from 1Q20 through 2Q21.
  • Congress has already allocated approximately $400 billion in state and local aid.
  • State and local governments started the pandemic recession with over $200 billion in rainy day and other fund balances.
  • States are incurring additional expenditures due to increased Medicaid enrollment. The costs are more than offset by temporarily increased federal Medicaid support, but states are prohibited from removing ineligible individuals from the program.
  • Additional funds to state and local governments are not needed. Instead, Congress should focus on policies that will spur economic recovery.

General Risks to State and Local Governments

Additional federal aid could harm the long-term financial health of states by:
Overwhelming state and local governments with more money than they can effectively spend.

  • Making it more difficult for states to maintain balanced budgets in the future.
  • Incentivizing states to rely on the federal government for financial support in future crises instead of developing their own fiscal responsibility.
  • Making spending decisions based on directives from DC instead of the local needs of constituents and communities.
  • Funding new and expanded programs that require future tax increases to sustain.
  • Enlarging state and local governments to a point where they cannot adjust accordingly and become a larger portion of the economy while the private sector contracts.

Rhode Island Federal Aid

The latest revenue projections show that states are not experiencing as much of a shock from lost revenue as anticipated. The projected $140 billion in lower revenue is more than made up for with approximately $400 billion in various forms of federal aid to state and local governments. In fact, 48 out 50 states received more federal aid than anticipated revenue lost, and Rhode Island falls into this category.

State and local governments will now need to adjust their finances for a different economic reality than existed pre-pandemic.

Estimated Aid to Rhode Island and Its Municipalities

Rhode Island will receive a total of approximately $1.78 billion in federal COVID relief aid:

  • $1.12 billion for the state government
  • $0.11 billion for capital projects
  • $0.54 billion to be distributed to its 39 local governments

City and Town Aid

Rhode Island’s six largest cities will receive the lion’s share of allocated municipal funds, with significantly less for the smaller cities of Newport and Central Falls and the other 31 towns.

The Center’s Recommendations

In general, the COVID relief funds to states and localities should not be spent on any project or initiative that permanently expands the scope or size of government. Spending projects should be temporary, with defined end dates and should have no risk of incurring associated maintenance costs in future years.

Furthermore, all spending plans should be 100% transparent, with full and detailed reporting on the status of all projects and all vendor disbursements. If the function is not adequately staffed within the governmental unit, an auditor or inspector-general-type oversight capacity should be established, temporarily, with the relief funds.

While the federal government has provided general guidelines for authorized spending uses, plenty of grey areas that will be clarified in the coming months and years, as inquiries to the U.S. Treasury are responded to or as inevitable future court cases set precedent.

Based on calls with our national partners and our collective best efforts to interpret these federal guidelines and navigate the grey areas, our Center puts forth the following specific project ideas. For Rhode Island, some of these ideas are applicable only at the state level and some only at the local level, while some others may be applicable at both levels.

The state of Rhode Island is expected to receive approximately $1.8 billion in COVID Relief Funds. All but a few hundred million, which will be spent to plug anticipated budget gaps due to lost tax receipts resulting from the pandemic shutdowns, may be available for special projects or purposes.

The Center’s recommendations are conceptual only. We do not attempt to calculate the cost of each program.

State Government

Educational Uses

  • “Catch Up ESAs” — up to a $750 scholarship “match” for every public and private school K–12 student who was forced into distance learning, to fund complementary educational activities or items, such as tutors, online classes, or other learning aids, where that locality has itself enacted a similar Catch Up ESA scholarship program.

Small Business Uses. The most important component in achieving a full economic recovery is to ensure that a strong foundation exists in the small business community. Without more and better companies, there cannot be more and better–paying jobs for Rhode Islanders.

  • Eliminate fees in specified occupational licensing industries.
  • Allow for immediate and full “expensing” of capital expenditures on RI tax returns through 2024.
  • Fund an increase the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) to support low-income working families that were hit hardest by the pandemic lockdowns. NOTE: this EITC increase is only recommended if the state’s minimum wage mandate on employers is not increased.
  • Temporary tax credits for businesses in industries hardest hit by the pandemic lockdowns. Since the government created the lockdown problem, it should play a role in a solution.
  • Temporary waiver of the annual corporate tax, to encourage small business creation.
  • Partially fund cities and towns to phase-out or create/increase the exemption level for the unpopular “tangible assets” tax.

Infrastructure Uses

  • Upgrade Rhode Island’s power grid by moving underground major electric lines on state roads to help avoid future mass power outages.
  • Expanded broadband wireless coverage in remote and low-income areas to allow for increased educational or telehealth options.

General Budget and Public Uses

  • Pay out of Unemployment Insurance benefits.
  • Eliminate “beach fees” through 2024.
  • Pay off some our state’s bonded debt.
  • Build up “Rainy Day Fund.”
  • Fund a temporary Office of the Inspector General with full authority to oversee expenditures and publicly report on inappropriate use of funds.

Civics Uses

  • Provide a print copy of the United States Constitution and the Rhode Island Constitution to every elected official and government employee at the state and local level.

Municipal Governments

Larger municipalities will receive tens of millions of dollars in windfall funding.

Unlike the restrictions on state governments, the federal guidelines for the COVID Relief Funds do not ban municipalities from using these funds to reduce taxes.

Educational Uses

  • “Catch Up ESAs” — a $500 scholarship for every public and private school K–12 student who was forced into distance learning, to fund complementary educational activities or items, such as tutors, online classes, or other learning aids.
  • Property tax refund in recognition that full in-person learning was not made available to students in 2020 or 2021 and other government services were curtailed.

Small Business Uses

  • Property tax credits for businesses in the hardest hit industries or for all businesses.
  • Phase-out or create/increase the exemption level for the unpopular “tangible assets” tax (potentially funded via state use of COVID Relief Funds)

Senior Citizens Uses

  • Upgrade senior centers with a one-time purchase of recreational aids (audio/visual, for example) or transportation (shuttle buses).

Infrastructure Uses

  • One-time upgrades to parks, sports facilities, and other recreational areas.

General Budget and Public Uses

  • Pay off some the locality’s bonded debt.
  • Build up “rainy day funds.”
  • Fund a temporary Office of the Inspector General with full authority to oversee expenditures, and publicly report on inappropriate use of funds.
Motorists

MEDIA RELEASE: Center Urges Motorists to Join in Call to Stop the TCI Gas Tax

Center Launches Campaign for Ocean State Motorists to “SAY NO” to TCI Gas Taxes

Providence, RI – The Rhode Island Center for Freedom and Prosperity announced today that it has launched its “Say NO to the TCI Gas Tax” campaign, including an online form, whereby Ocean State motorists can petition the state lawmakers to reject the regional gasoline cap-and-trade scheme, known as the Transportation & Climate Initiative (TCI).

The simple form, once completed at www.RIFreedom.org/TCI-action, will automatically send an email to the Governor and to legislative leaders. Social media advertising, to raise awareness of how state residents can take action, has already begun.

A January report by the Center estimated that the TCI Gas Tax would cost the average family an extra $1200 per year in increased fuel, food, and retail product prices.

“As our state struggles to recover from the pandemic, and while Biden administration policies are already driving up the price of gasoline, it should be unthinkable that state lawmakers would choose this time to plan an additional 30-40 cents per gallon gas tax increase ,” warned Mike Stenhouse, the Center’s CEO. “People who drive their cars are not ‘bad guys’ as some government officials believe.”

A leaked video caught a Massachusetts government climate official overtly stating that people who drive cars, like “seniors on fixed incomes” are “bad guys” who need to have “the screws turned on them” so as to “break their will.”

The petition email in part states; Along with the 7 in 10 Ocean Staters, per a January public poll, who oppose TCI once they learn of its high cost:

  • I oppose the TCI gas tax scheme, designed to make gasoline prices so high that I will be forced to drive less, and so that “gasoline will go away.”
  • I am not willing to pay major new gas taxes at the pump and for increased prices of vehicle delivered goods, especially when there is virtually no environmental benefit.
  • I believe Rhode Islanders should be free to choose the energy options that best fit our lives.

Earlier this week, the Center formally called on Governor McKee to withdraw Rhode Island from the regional TCI compact that former Governor Raimondo signed the state up for.

In December, former Governor Gina Raimondo signed-on Rhode Island, just one of three states to do so, to the TCI Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU). Implementation of TCI would lead to a significant increase in automobile and diesel gasoline prices for motorists, while also systematically limiting regional supplies of vehicle fuel.

More information about the proposed TCI gas tax can be found on the Center’s TCI webpage: RIFreedom.org/NoTCItax. The Center is one of over two-dozen organizations in the northeast working cooperatively to defeat TCI in their respective states.

Vote to “Reject” all 7 bond Questions

Rhode Islanders can’t afford $642 million – We’ve Spent Enough Money!

Doc Skoly Does It Again! #RejectThe7RI

Center Releases Counter-video to Cooler/Warmer II

Providence, RI – In response to a union-funded advertising video in support of new bonded debt that will cost taxpayers $642 million, the RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity today released its own video ad, urging voters to “REJECT” each of the 7 special-interest oriented spending questions on the ballot for the special election, now underway through March 2. 

Citing the Ocean State’s existing level of crushing debt, the video’s theme is ‘We’ve spent enough money’. The Center’s video was produced by JawDoc Productions, the same outfit that in just few hours in 2016, at virtually no cost, produced a superior and more popular counter-video to the  massively expensive and geographically-incorrect Cooler/Warmer video ad embarrassingly published by Governor Gina Raimondo at significant taxpayer expense. 

“This year, special interest unions conspired to fund yet another advertising debacle, again paying exorbitant fees to an out of state firm, which made the same mistake in using geographically-incorrect images,” commented Mike Stenhouse, the Center’s CEO. “Just take a look at the money behind this ad campaign promoting massive government spending; it is clear that such spending will only enrich insider cronies at the expense of the hard-working people of our state.” This year’s union video has been dubbed by many as Cooler/Warmer II

The Center argues that debt is a delayed tax. And that as Ocean Staters struggle to recover from the devastating impact of the pandemic, forced to cut back on their family and business budgets … that likewise, the State of Rhode Island should trim its big-spending habits. “It would be completely tone-deaf and yet another self-inflicted wound for government to impose such future burdens on taxpayers during these trying times,” concluded Stenhouse. 

Dr. Stephen Skoly, founder of JawDoc Productions and a maxillo-facial surgeon, is also Chairman of the RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity.  

More Reasons for Voters To Reject All 7 Bond Questions

  • Debt is $14,700 per taxpayer, giving RI a D for fiscal health.
  • Per capita bonded debt of $10,215, 3rd highest
  • In general, RI’s interest costs of 25% (17th highest)
  • Estimated interest of 5% on 3/2/21 bond questions produces interest cost estimate of 60% ($242m on $400m).
  • Story of recent migration in RI is young, early-career people moving out and older people moving in. Inevitable tax increase to pay for debt will push more younger folks out while squeezing the older folks, especially those on fixed incomes.

BREAKING: Stenhouse submits testimony on Senate bill that restricts energy choice

Stenhouse Submits Testimony against “Fantasy” Senate Bill, Harmfully Seeking to Curb RI’s Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Providence, RI – The CEO for the  the Rhode Island Center for Freedom and Prosperity submitted written testimony this morning to the Senate Committee on Environment & Agriculture, regarding a Senate bill (S0078) scheduled for a hearing this afternoon that would accelerate Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GGE) reduction mandates for the state. 

In his testimony, posted online here, Mike Stenhouse writes: 

It is pure fantasy that there is anything our small state can do to impact the greater world climate. When weighed against the punishing economic realities that would be forced upon our state’s residents, the calculation becomes far, far worse.

Renowned climate change advocate, John Kerry, this week publicly admitted that even the entire US, alone eliminating GGE, would be insignificant for the globe. Further, Rhode Island’s capacity to impact world GGE is merely 1/350th of our entire nation’s stated non-capacity. 

Energy policies are best handled at the federal and international level, as state-based and other local efforts end up producing an incredibly poor cost-vs-benefit value proposition. As our report demonstrates, legislation like S0078 and the TCI gas tax, would mean that that Rhode Islanders would bear the high economic costs … for zero meaningful environmental benefit

Stenhouse, after citing (from his organization’s recent report) the harsh negative economic impacts that even a smaller climate change initiative (TCI) would cause, concludes his testimony by pleading: 

I ask you not to give families and businesses yet another reason not to choose Rhode Island as their destination to live, work, and invest in our state. 

The “report” referred to was published last week by the Center, a 10-page paper, The Effects of a TCI-Style Gas Tax on Motor Fuels in Rhode Island, which calculates that the total social costs of such a gas tax would be 105 times more severe than the anticipated social benefits. Under TCI in Rhode Island, global carbon emissions would be reduced by an insignificant 0.00016%. 

Alos, according to a recent poll commissioned by the Center, public support for the Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI) drops significantly when voters learn the policy will result in gas tax hikes, a significant projected loss of jobs, and a major reduction in the average family’s disposable income, especially since TCI will “disproportionately affect commuters and low-income families.”

Last month, the Center was one of 20 co-signers of an open regional coalition letter, which concluded that “at its core, TCI is a poor concept that is fundamentally regressive, economically damaging, and places an unnecessary financial burden on people who can least afford it.” 

More information about the proposed TCI gas tax can be found on the Center’s TCI webpage: RIFreedom.org/NoTICtax.

Dr. Bostom Blasts Raimondo’s Call for Mass Testing

Call for Mass Asymptomatic Testing Not Evidence-Based

Dr. Andrew Bostom Appointed to Center’s Board of Adjunct Scholars

Providence, RI – The dubious public call by Rhode Island Governor, Gina Raimondo, for asymptomatic state residents to be tested twice before the end of the year is not evidence-based and is rendered even more questionable if vitally important “cycle threshold” data is not included in reporting PCR test results. This according to a Dr. Andrew Bostom, who today was appointed as an adjunct scholar to the RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity.

In his most recent column, Rhode Island Crosses the Threshold of Covid-19 Testing Transparency, Dr. Bostom – an academic internist, clinical trialist, and Brown University degreed epidemiologist – cites a history of the long-held medical consensus that “asymptomatic transmission has never been the driver of outbreaks.”

Earlier this year, as explained on the Center’s popular In The Dugout show, Dr. Bostom was the first medical expert in Rhode Island, and among the first in the country, to raise awareness about the need for cycle-threshold (Ct) values to be reported publicly en masse as well as privately to patients. 

Dr. Bostom called it “misguided” and “hysteria”, in referring to the Governor’s policy of mass screening of RI residents who have no symptoms, especially without accompanying Ct data, which measures the viral load in individual testing samples. 

NOT ALL POSITIVE TESTS ARE THE SAME: The New York Times and Dr. Anthony Fauci have determined that many who test positive for the coronavirus have such miniscule levels of the virus that they pose no community or individual risk.

In recent weeks, both the WHO (World Health Organization) and the state of Floridarecognized the importance of Ct values, as most “positive” test results with high Ct values are essentially “false positives” … vitally important information when it comes to crafting public policy and treatment and quarantine regimens for individual patients. Yet Rhode Island and other states routinely keep this data hidden from the pubic.

Led by Dr. Bostom earlier this month, the Center’s analysis of a sample of about 5000 tests with Ct values confirmed that over one-half of all positive tests in the state may be harmless, in that those patients may not have been infectious or contagious.

Also this month, the Center launched a statewide petition campaign to demand Covid data transparency from the RI Department of Health (DOH); to collect and report critical Ct testing data. Upon signing the digital petition at RIfreedom.org/covid-transparency, an email will be automatically generated and sent to multiple members of the DOH and the Governor’s office. 

Dr. Bostom will be the hour-long guest today on In The Dugout at a special pre-Christmas time of 3:00 PM EST at www.RIFreedom.org/Live , to discuss his column, and to answer questions from viewers and listeners about any pandemic related medical questions, including his views on vaccines and therapy options.

To learn more about Dr. Bostom, and all of the Center’s adjunct scholars, scroll down the Center’s “About Us” web-page, here: https://rifreedom.org/about-us/

Reporting of COVID-19 Ct Values Can Better Shape Public Policy

Not All Positive Tests Are the Same

Despite months of stonewalling of prior APRA requests … and just one day after a petition campaign by the RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity sent over 1,000 emails to various state-government officials, including the DOH and the governor … the Center has obtained information released to a persistent citizen by the state Executive Office of Health and Human Services; partial data covering a limited number of positive Covid-19 tests performed before July 2020.

According to Dr. Andrew Bostom, Covid-19 advisor to the Center and Rhode Island resident, a Brown University degreed epidemiologist, academic internist, and clinical trialist:

This first public revelation of cycle threshold (Ct) data, from over 5,000 RIDOH covid-19 rtPCR positive tests from late February through the end of June, reveals that a considerable number (36.2%) of these positive tests occurred at a Ct > 33, a level generally considered by the medical community to be associated with extremely low Covid-19 infectiousness

Initial analysis of this data also confirms the need for all future RIDOH reports of daily positive test results to include breakdowns of the Ct data

Deeper analysis of even more data can be immensely important in determining more data-driven, targeted, and effective public policies. I join with the Center in petitioning the state of Rhode Island to follow Florida’s lead and to immediately begin collecting and reporting Ct data for all Covid-19 PCR tests.”

The data includes 9,878 COVID-19 tests divided into two “N” groups corresponding to each other by day from February 29, 2020, through June 30, 2020.

The cycle threshold (Ct) value is the number of cycles needed for the virus to be detected from the person’s sample. The higher the Ct value the smaller the amount of virus present in the sample. Most medical experts agree that Ct values over 33 likely indicate non-infectious, non-contagious levels of the virus. In practice, for example, the country of India only triages (treats or closely monitors) cases where the Ct values are less than 25.

Routine government collection and detailed reporting of this data can be enormously helpful in determining public policy, and in informing patients and their doctors when it comes to determining more appropriate individual quarantine and medical treatment regimens.

Of the total tests reported in Rhode Island, 51% had Ct values of 30 or higher, while 66% had values of 25 or higher.

Considered over the span of the report, Ct values gradually rose through May, after which they dropped along with the number of tests being conducted per day.

Media Release: Center to Host Online Forum, A Petition for Covid Data Transparency

Public Forum on Covid-19 Cycle-Threshold Data

Public and Press Invited to Pose Questions

Providence, RI – Even though some local media are reporting that Rhode Island has recently become one of the world’s most extreme hot-spots when it comes to spread of the Covid-19 virus, the release and analysis of detailed testing data, currently being withheld from the public, could be vital in shaping more focused and less intrusive public policy as well as in determining individual quarantine and medical treatment regimens.

Today at 4:00 PM EST, the RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity will host a special-edition of its popular In The Dugout online video-talk show, a public forum to discuss the importance of “cycle threshold” (Ct) testing data and the State of Rhode Island’s efforts to block repeated requests for access to this information. 

NOT ALL POSITIVE TESTS ARE THE SAME: The New York Times and Dr. Anthony Fauci have previously determined that many who test positive for the coronavirus have such miniscule levels of the virus that they pose no community or individual risk. Within the past week, Florida became the first state to mandate collection of Ct data, the basis for which more effective data-driven public policy can be formulated. 

The forum, entitled A Petition for Covid Transparency, will include an epidemiologist and clinician, a RI State Representative, and a state worker who will discuss his persistent efforts to obtain his own personal medical data. 

The public is invited to watch the 4pm live broadcast at www.RIFreedom.org/Live or on the Center’s YouTube channel, where comments and questions can be posted for discussion in the second half of the forum.

MEDIA AVAILABILITY: The media is invited to request special access to make inquiries of the panelists and to receive a digital press-kit (details forthcoming in a separate media advisory)

The forum will feature: 

  • Announcement of a statewide petition campaign demanding collection and release of this Ct data
  • Dr. Andrew Bostom, Rhode Islander, academic internist, clinical trialist, and Brown University degreed epidemiologist
  • State Representative Patricia Morgan, whose related APRA requests are being stonewalled
  • State worker, Jay, who has had both success and failure in obtaining his personal Ct medical information
  • Judicial Watch statement on their APRA efforts to obtain related information
  • Mike Stenhouse, CEO for the Center and host of the forum
Gettsyburg redux

The Gettysburg Address, Rhode Island Redux

(This commentary originally appeared in the Providence Journal on November 19, 2020)

Democrats seized control of Rhode Island’s General Assembly in the 1930s. Since then, the left has systematically drained wealth and industry from our once prosperous state. Ever-increasing taxes and regulations, combined with overt special-interest favoritism, have driven countless fellow Ocean Staters from our shores.

And now, still reeling from a pandemic, they seek to worsen matters by imposing massive new taxes and debt obligations to salvage the state’s budget, at the expense of families and small-businesses.

This Gettsyburg redux remembers those who Rhode Island has lost to other states:

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. 

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Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure.  

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We are met on a great battlefield of that war.  We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this. 

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate — we can not consecrate — we can not hallow — this ground. 

The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract.  

The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here.

It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced.  

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It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth. 

— Abraham Lincoln, Nov. 19, 1863  

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this state, a new political majority, conceived in patronage, and dedicated to the proposition that all special interests are created more equal.

Now, we are engaged in a great war of cronyism, testing whether that state, or any state so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. 

We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to execrate a portion of that field, a final resting place for the taxes of those here who were forced to give their hard-earned treasure that that state’s insiders might thrive. It is altogether unfitting and improper that we should accept this.  

But, in a larger sense, we can not tolerate — we can not consecrate — we can not hallow this corrupt sufferance.  

The industrious men and women, living and dead, who emigrated from here, have disavowed it, far above our poor power to retain them in our state. 

This state will little note, nor long remember when they lived here, but it can never forget why they left here.

It is for us, the remaining, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought for their happiness here have so nobly reminded us.  

It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these departed patriots we take increased derision to that ignoble cause for which they were taxed the last affordable measure of income — that we here highly resolve that these emigrants shall not have fled in vain — that this state, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the state. 

— Mike Stenhouse, Nov. 19, 2020