Rhode Island Covid-19 Help

Rhode Island COVID-19 Crisis: Public Policy Solutions to Restore Financial Security

In these trying times, with over fifty thousand Rhode Islanders recently laid-off and unemployment rates that could soon reach 30%, common-sense public state-based policy can help mitigate the destructive economic impact of the Rhode Island Covid-19 crisis … and can help restore a sense of normalcy and financial security.

In response to this health crisis that is impacting our lives in so many ways, our state government’s actions to shut down commerce across many industries is inevitably having a crushing impact on small businesses, jobs, and family budgets… creating anxiety and fears among our populace.

On top of the major disruptions to our daily lives, our individual and societal peace of mind has deteriorated, with many Rhode Islanders concerned not just about their health, but also worried about their financial well-being. 

However, within the past week, leading national voices from across the political spectrum – The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Governor of New York, and the President of the United States – have raised awareness about the need to restore economic activity as part of our nation’s recovery from the coronavirus crisis. 

As the federal government considers various assistance programs, it is vital that Rhode Island’s political leaders also play a positive role in restoring prosperity. It is a historical fact that economic depressions kill people, too… we must not let our Ocean State’s circumstances come to that.

Governor Raimondo has asked the business community for more time and patience as our state’s health care system is strengthened, before the “temporary,” yet major, restrictions on the private sector are lifted. 

The public policy solutions recommended in this paper include a number of smaller, “temporary” solutions that can be implemented – beginning now, while the larger state mandates remain in place – and that should remain in place until our state’s economy is fully recovered.

While the governor asks for the public’s trust, state leaders, likewise, must place trust in the power of the American people – business innovation and individual consumerism, guided by the free-market system – to be the driving force in lifting Rhode Island out of this severe economic crisis.

Specifically, the General Assembly must find a way to convene and govern –  and to consider emergency rescue legislation that balances the need to address the state’s budget with the need to bolster the budgets of families and businesses.

Rhode Island COVID-19 Recovery by #GovernmentDistancing. To aid in Rhode Island’s economic survival and eventual recovery – and to restore confidence about our future among the populace – the Center suggests that there are many ways our state government can take important and symbolic actions in alleviating some of these concerns about our individual and overall financial security. 

The common-sense ‘crisis recovery’ policy ideas recommended in this paper are designed to free-up the private sector to be able to speed back to the peak employment and income-levels that we saw before the COVID-19 crisis. These solutions are especially beneficial to a state economy that is suffering catastrophic job losses as we have seen in Rhode Island.

Many states across America are aggressively taking or considering similar steps, and Rhode Island must not lag behind. By temporarily suspending certain taxes and regulations that hold back economic growth, by practicing what we call “government distancing,” political leaders can separate unnecessary government burdens from those suffering the most distress … and help clear the way for rapid economic recovery.

Already in Rhode Island, one of the Center’s early recommendations has been enacted:

  • To allow alcoholic beverages to leave restaurants when sold with a food take-out order. This will help many restaurants to maintain cash flow and better serve their customers.

For small businesses and their employees, it will be important to get as many people back to work at their normal shifts as soon as possible. However, the ramp-up to normal business conditions, and the associated revenues, may not be as fast the shut-down was. Therefore, as a short-term measure, the Center suggests:

  • Temporarily reducing Rhode Island’s minimum wage to the federal level of $7.25 per hour. Our state’s hourly wage mandate of $10.50 is scheduled to rise to $11.50 on October 1st. By providing employers with more flexibility in hiring back their workforce, more Rhode Islanders can more quickly be put on the road to economic recovery. Consideration should be given to limiting this wage-suspension to apply only to newly created or revived positions.
    • Additionally, with government assuming further responsibility for aiding low-income families as we recover from this crises, the state should temporarily increase the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).
  • Temporarily extending the deadlines for businesses to remit collected sales taxes to the state. This option would give many businesses additional near-term cash flow when it comes to compensating their employees, paying their rent, or covering other vital overhead expenses.
  • Temporary suspension of the corporate minimum tax, which imposes one more burden on individual looking to start a new business, or maintain their existing small business – for instance, as sole proprietors or limited partnerships – even if the businesses loses money.
  • Repeal the ban on flavored vaping products to restore choice to Rhode Island adults and to help this industry hire back the workers it was forced to lay-off in 2019.
  • Eliminate sales and hotel taxes on people who offer short-term rentals, independently or through online services like AirBnB. This will encourage home-owners to develop new revenue streams for their households and will make our Ocean State a less expensive tourism destination for many during the vitally important upcoming summer season.

Last week, the Center published a policy brief with a policy idea that would provide a financial incentive for Ocean Staters to work, shop, and eat at home as much as possible, as the government has either mandated or recommended. To encourage online commerce as a form of social-distancing, the Center recommended:

  • Temporarily suspending Internet Sales Taxes. Consideration should be given as to whether this suspension should only apply to in-state purchases and deliveries.

On the health insurance front, many people who have lost their jobs may also have lost their private health care coverage. Currently, Rhode Island’s onerous insurance regulations makes it impossible for provider to offer “short term” insurance plans, either forcing newly uninsured people into much more expensive government-improved plans, onto Medicaid, or to risk living without insurance (and subsequently being penalizing with a fee.)

To help individuals who may be in employment transition during this crisis, Rhode Island should:

  • Remove insurance laws that discourage the sale of short-term health insurance plans, so that patients can be offered lower-cost insurance options from a broader array of providers.

Other health related policy ideas include:

  • Waive regulation to allow medical professionals licensed in other states to be licensed to practice or conduct tele-health services in Rhode Island as was done in Missouri.

  • Repeal Certificate of Need laws that restrict healthcare providers from acquiring advanced technologies, such as medical imaging devices. Such protectionist-driven laws must not become a barrier to Rhode Islanders receiving the the quality care they deserve.
COVID-19

Public Policy and Civic Responses to the COVID-19 Crisis

Government-Distancing Can Help Keep Rhode Islanders Safe and Working During COVID-19 Crisis

To enhance the medical and economic health of Rhode Islanders dealing with the COVID-19 crisis, the RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity recommends two initiatives: one by government and one by the private sector. During these trying times, we have a patriotic responsibility to mitigate the many negative consequences of the coronavirus pandemic.

Government-Distancing: Suspend Internet Sales Taxes. To further incentivize people to follow government mandates and guidelines — to work, eat, and shop at home — especially the most vulnerable, and while the COVID-19 virus is still among us, the Center recommends a temporary suspension of the state’s Internet sales tax.

Medical Benefit: To help prevent the physical spread of the COVID-19 virus, social-distancing has become the accepted model for citizens who interact with each other at home, at work, or in public. Similarly, to help prevent the economic malaise that is already spreading among small businesses and individuals, the Center calls for government-distancing to also be practiced, to remove government-imposed barriers that might prevent our people from practicing healthy social-distancing.

By suspending Internet sales taxes and separating itself from the shopping habits of Rhode Islanders, our government can create economic incentive to shop at home, which will lessen the frequency of the community spread of COVID-19. We all know that people will drive over state lines just to save sales tax dollars, so there is little question that people will also not drive away from their homes if it means saving money.

Individual Financial Benefit: A second benefit of suspending Internet sales taxes is that Rhode Islanders will be able to keep more of their hard-earned money. These savings could be very important to the many people who at this time are suffering a loss of income — due to a loss of jobs, loss of working hours, or even the loss of their businesses — partly owing to the government-mandated shut-downs and restrictions and partly to the social-distancing already being practiced.

Budgetary Factors: In a 2019 brief asking lawmakers to honor their commitment to reduce the sales tax rate when Internet sales taxes began, the Center estimated annual revenue of $57 million to be derived from online taxes. At less than $5 million per month, waiving the Internet sales tax for three months could easily be paid for by reducing $18 million in annual corporate welfare or cutting $14 million in unpopular legislative and community service grants gifted to political insiders yearly.

At the end of the legislative session last year, the state refused to reduce the sales tax rate to 6.5% as promised when Rhode Island started collecting Internet sales taxes, meaning these collections have been over and above what Rhode Islanders should have been paying.

Enhancing the Right to Earn. In addition to this one potentially important legislative initiative, the government can further distance itself from being a barrier to getting Rhode Islanders back to work by implementing some of the occupational-licensing reforms the Center recommended in its major 2018 report, The Right to Earn a Living.

Civic Responsibility. Small businesses are the lifeblood of our Ocean State economy, and many small business owners and employees are our neighbors or members of our families. For those who are able, it is the civic responsibility of each and every Rhode Islander to help keep our in-state businesses … and our state … economically healthy, while we sacrifice to keep ourselves medically healthy.

Purchase Gift Certificates and Take-Out Orders: For many small businesses, whose services have been shut down or severely curtailed by government mandates or lower demand from people voluntarily staying at home, short-term cash flow is vital to their survival, to be able to pay their employees, to pay their rent, to purchase the raw materials they need, or just to conduct necessary business operations.

Gift certificates, purchased by individuals and businesses who have the near-term financial capacity, can be a critical way to infuse much-needed cash into businesses today with 100% near-term net cash flow, while delivery of their goods and services, and the associated expenses, can be delayed into the future, when normal business conditions return. This simple activity by thousands of Rhode Islanders would mean cash IN now, with expenses OUT later, and extend the lives of many businesses and jobs in our state. Purchasing take-out orders from food and beverage and other establishments can also keep cash flowing into businesses during this critical period.

A Call to Chambers and Other Private Institutions: While individuals can engage in the above-recommended activities on their own, an even more positive impact can result if business groups and other civic organizations help promote these concepts. We encourage all public, private, and civic organizations to actively do their part in raising awareness about how their members might help small businesses in this way:

  • Local Chambers of Commerce
  • Statewide business associations
  • Churches and other charitable organizations
  • Rotary, K of C, Kiwanis, and other civic clubs

RI WOMEN FOR FREEDOM

occupation licensing

Center Submits Testimony on Omnibus Occupational Licensing Reform Bill

Written Testimony on Bill to Reduce Regulatory Burdens On Occupation Licensing Law
Commends Leadership from Department of Business Regulation

Providence, RI – Encouraged that reforms continue to move forward based on its 2018 report on the heavy burdens of “occupation licensing” laws in the state, the RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity yesterday submitted written testimony to the House Committee on Small Business.  

The omnibus legislation, H7892, seeks to reduce occupation licensing burdens across multiple occupational areas, and in passing this bill, Rhode Island would join the increasing national trend – both at the state and federal level – to reduce roadblocks that may prohibit certain individuals from engaging in meaningful work. 

“I would like to commend the Department of Business Regulation, led by Elizabeth Tanner, for their leadership in crafting this legislation, which will help to improve our state’s poorly-ranked business climate,” commented Mike Stenhouse, the Center’s CEO. “There is much more we can do to make Rhode Island a more hospitable state to build a career.”

Last year, another recommendation from the Center’s Right To Earn report, common-sense legislation long-time supported by the Center, to remove onerous regulatory burdens for natural hair-braiders … was finally passed by the General Assembly and enacted into law. 

In the testimony, Stenhouse offered committee members to review the Center’s list of other occupational licensing reform solutions that can enhance Ocean Stater’s right to earn a living of their choice.

A PDF of this testimony, the Center’s report on licensing reform, and other related information can be found at RIFreedom.org/RightToEarn.

Jobs & Opportunity Index (JOI), December 2019: Signs of Growth Foretell a Revision

The final report for 2019 of the RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity’s Jobs & Opportunity Index (JOI) found Rhode Island still with its overall ranking of 47th in the country. Data for all 12 datapoints of the index except federal taxes were updated for this iteration, and the only negatives, compared with September, were a slight increase in marginally attached workers and a more-significant increase in state and local taxes.

Employment and labor force were up about 0.7% and 0.6%, respectively, since the first-reported numbers for September, and RI-based jobs increased 0.5%. With the national economy continuing to improve, Medicaid enrollment fell 3.2%, while TANF (cash welfare) rolls shrank by 24.0%. SNAP enrollment was down 0.3%. The Ocean State had 16.5% fewer residents who counted as long-term unemployed and 7.8% fewer who were working only part time because more work was not available. However, the number counting as marginally attached increased 2.1%.

When it comes to money, personal income was up a modest 0.3% on an annualized basis, which amounted to $161 million more income. However, state and local taxation increased 1.4%, or $50 million, resulting not only from the increased income, but also increases in taxation after recent legislative sessions.

The first chart shows RI remaining last in New England on JOI, at 47th. New Hampshire held the 1st spot, nationally. Maine improved its standing two spots, to 17th, while Vermont continued to slip, to 21st. Massachusetts moved up a step to 36th, and Connecticut advanced to 37th. The second chart shows the gaps between RI and New England and the United States on JOI, and the third chart shows the gaps in the official unemployment rate.

Results for the three underlying JOI factors were:

  • Job Outlook Factor (optimism that adequate work is available): RI advanced five spots, to 27th.
  • Freedom Factor (the level of work against reliance on welfare programs): RI remained 41st.
  • Prosperity Factor (the financial motivation of income versus taxes): RI remained 47th.

Click here for the corresponding employment post on the Ocean State Current.

Gas Tax

What Rhode Islanders should know about the TCI Gas Tax Q & A about the Transportation & Climate Initiative

Analysis by the RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity

On December 17 the Georgetown Law Center, in cooperation with the Raimondo administration in Rhode Island and other regional state governments, published its Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI) draft Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU). It will be open for on-line comments until February 28. At some point after that, Governor Raimondo is expected to initiate a process for our state to officially join the TCI regional compact. 

The original plan was to seek legislative approval to enact some provisions to make TCI enforceable on Rhode Island fuel dealers. However, with bi-partisan opposition building in the state for this stealth gas tax, it is unclear if the Governor will attempt to act solely by “executive” authority and attempt to bypass the General Assembly. 

Here are some questions and answers that will explain what the TCI proposed policy is, and what it expects to do.

Q: What is TCI? 

TCI is a multistate regional agreement designed to drive up the price of motor fuel (gasoline and on-road diesel).  It proposes to start at five, nine or seventeen cents per gallon, and escalate upward from that, with no declared maximum.

Q: Why do TCI backers and climate alarmists want to drive up the price of motor fuel? 

Because they are convinced that “climate change poses a clear, present, and increasingly dangerous threat to the communities and economic security” Rhode Island and other regional states. The MOU says that the participating states will “need to implement bold initiatives to mitigate the impacts of greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector,” which produce 40% of human-caused emissions. 

Q: This sounds familiar. Isn’t this TCI attack on transportation just an extension of “RhodeMapRI”?

Yes. While much of our Center’s years-ago battle against RhodeMapRI focused on property rights, it has always been the goal of the left’s larger “sustainability” objectives to restrict and reduce the use of personal autos and business vehicles.

Q: How will TCI drive down those emissions? 

By driving up the price of gasoline and diesel fuel so you will be financially forced to drive less, drive smaller cars, use electric vehicles, walk, ride bicycles, use public transportation, move closer to school and work, and so on.

Q: How does TCI drive up motor fuel prices?  

TCI creates a “cap and invest” system, or what we call a ‘cap-and-trade’ carbon tax scheme. TCI sets a cap, or limit, on carbon dioxide emissions from burning regular and diesel motor fuel. Every distributor of motor fuel – many dozens in Rhode Island – will be required to purchase “allowances” to match the motor fuel sold during each reporting period.

Q: So motorists, including passenger cars, pickups, SUVs, vans, school buses, delivery trucks, contractor vehicles, milk tankers, ambulances, state and municipal trucks, and motorcycles will end up paying for the allowances?  

Yes, fuel prices are expected to rise significantly at the gas pump.

Q: Won’t TCI hit hardest on working people and the poor, especially in our state’s rural areas? 

Yes. As a regressive tax, the TCI Gas Tax will disproportionately harm low-income families, especially those who live some distance from commercial centers or their workplace.

Q: What does the state get for imposing these costs on motorists? 

TCI will distribute among the participating states some fraction of the revenue from its sale of “allowances”, per a yet to be determined formula. The states are supposed to use these revenues to further drive down gasoline and on-road diesel use, and “help their residents transition to affordable, low-carbon transportation options”. Paying people to buy electric cars and funding more mass transit systems, are examples of how your gas money might be spent. However, it appears that a designated state agency will have final say on how the funds are spent, not the General Assembly.

Q: How many “allowances” will TCI issue? 

As many – or as few – as it sees fit. In ceding ‘taxing’ authority to a regional entity, TCI, in essence creates a shadow governmentof unelected bureaucrats who can unilaterally decide how much of a ‘gas tax’ motorists should pay in Rhode Island and in other states.

TCI can invent allowances out of thin air anytime its ideologues want to further punish motorists. Motor fuel distributors will be forced to go into TCI’s auction market to buy enough of them with real money to match their motor fuel deliveries over a preceding reporting period. 

The cost of these “allowances”, which will necessarily increase as the allowable supply is systematically reduced, will be passed on to motorists in the form of continually increasing gas prices that you will be forced to pay at the pump.

Q: How much will the preferred TCI scenario reduce carbon dioxide emissions from motor fuel? 

The Josiah Bartlett Center in New Hampshire analyzed the TCI economic model. It found that the “reference case” used by the Georgetown Climate Center to project what would happen from 2022 to 2032 if states did notimplement the TCI would likely be a 19% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions, due to technological advances and existing fuel regulations. 

If TCI isimplemented, regional emissions are only projected to fall by an additional 1% to 6%, on top of the presumed 19% reduction. In short, TCI would extract $56 billionregionally from motor fuel users to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by a little more than 5 percent over ten years.  

Q: Will the reduction of emissions projected by TCI actually reduce “climate change”?

No, not in any measurable way. In fact, using the United Nation’s own climate change modeling tool, MAGICC, the effect of the TCI regional compact, even if implemented across the entire region until the year 2100, would produce ZEROimpact(out to 3 decimal places) on global temperatures.


Q: What is the Cost-vs-Benefit calculation for TCI?

Miserable. Why should Ocean Staters be forced to pay for something that will produce no environmental benefit?

Like most all prescriptions by environmental radicals, TCI would have a net-negative impact on state economies without any corresponding benefit. Our Center’s policy brief on TCI describes the negative impact another cap-and-trade compact (on electricity) that Rhode Island joined 2007, RGGI (the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative), has resulted in clear economic losses for participating RGGI states.

Q: Gov. Gina Raimondo has steadfastly advocated that this stealth TCI tax on gas is needed to “save the planet”. Doesn’t the General Assembly have the sole authority to impose taxes?

Yes, that’s what most constitutional experts assert. If she attempts to act unilaterally via executive power, and bypass the General Assembly, the Governor would certainly be inviting a lawsuit over Constitutional separation of powers.

Already, New Hampshire’s governor has rejected the TCI carbon tax scheme, while the governors of Vermont and Connecticut have openly expressed skepticism about carbon taxes and TCI.

Q: Sounds like TCI is actually a “sin tax,” is that true?

Yes, pretty much. TCI seeks to punish people for using personal and business vehicles in the course of their everyday lives. The climate extremists who created TCI believe that it is a sinfor you to drive to work, take your children to school, visit family, take your car shopping, or deliver goods or services … we do not!

Q: What can I do to voice my views on the stealth TCI Gas Tax? 

You can read more about TCI on our Center’s webpage – www.RIFreedom.org/TCI– where you will be directed to sign a #NoTCItax petition and/or comment directly on the TCI website. 

Rhode Island Transportation cost could be going up.

Ahead of State of the State Address, Center Publishes TCI Gas Tax Q&A

What Every Rhode Islander Should Know About the Transportation & Climate Initiative (TCI)

Providence, RI – With Governor Raimondo expected to address climate change in her annual “State of the State Address” this evening, the RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity today published a Question & Answer document about the carbon tax “cap and trade” regional compact she is advancing – the Transportation & Climate Initiative (TCI).

With four of the six New England state Governors publicly stating major concerns about TCI, if not outright rejection, and with Speaker Mattiello also expressing opposition, Governor Raimondo remains stubbornly committed to a scheme developed by radical environmentalists that purposefully seeks to make gasoline so expensive that Rhode Island motorists will be forced to drive less often.

Titled, ‘What Rhode Islanders Should Know About the TCI Gas Tax’, the Q&A document answers commonly asked questions about the objectives of TCI, how it works, and how it will impact Ocean State families and businesses. Initial details of the regional Transportation & Climate Initiative gas tax plan were released in December.

“The Governor may try to sugar-coat TCI in her address this evening, but Rhode Islanders should not be fooled; this is a crushing new tax on the budgets of families and businesses,” said the Center’s CEO, Mike Stenhouse. “Hard-working Rhode Islanders should not be purposefully punished for driving their kids to school, going to work, visiting family, going shopping, or delivering goods and services.”

With opposition mounting among state lawmakers, it is unclear if Governor Raimondo, who says TCI is necessary to “save our planet”, may seek to unilaterally impose the TCI gas tax on Ocean State motorists and truckers, or if she will seek legislative approval. The final TCI plan is expected in the early spring of 2020, when executive or legislative action could initiate.

The Center, part of a 12-state #NoTICtax coalition that will meet this Friday in Boston, signed an Open TCI Letter in December along with partners from Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Virginia, Vermont, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Maine, Delaware, New York, New Jersey, and Washington, DC.

The Center’s policy brief released last month, the TCI Tax, lays out the ‘diabolical’ goals of TCI, a green-new-deal type program whose goal is to make gasoline so expensive that it will “go away”. Like all far-left contrivances to reduce carbon-gas emissions, the TCI gas tax will harm economic growth and will take money out of the pockets of residents, while failing to meet its stated environmental goals. The policy brief discusses in detail the many reasons why our Rhode Island should not join the TCI compact, including:

  • In Rhode Island, with its already dismal business climate and exodus of people to lower-cost states, families and businesses cannot afford a significant new gas tax
  • The failure of a similar regional scheme on electricity, the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, has driven up consumer costs; has resulted in no added greenhouse gas reductions; and has caused economic harm. There is every reason to believe TCI will also produce a negative cost vs. benefit result. 
  • The Governor should not try to bypass the Constitutional authority of the General Assembly by unilaterally seeking to impose this new gas tax
  • Rhode Island could gain a significant competitive advantage in the region by refusing to sign-on to the TCI tax scheme by being able to offer lower-priced gasoline products
  • There are many less disruptive and more efficient ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions
  • State and national legal challenges may result, along a number of potential Constitutional angle

The TCI Q&A, the TCI Open Letter, the TCI Gas Tax policy brief, and other related information can be found at RIFreedom.org/NoTCITax.

Rhode Island still held its overall ranking of 47th in the country on the September 2019 third quater Jobs & Opportunity Index.

Jobs & Opportunity Index (JOI), September 2019: Hanging on While the Country Advances

As the third quarter of 2019 came to a close, Rhode Island still held its overall ranking of 47th in the country on the Rhode Island Center for Freedom & Prosperity’s Jobs & Opportunity Index (JOI) but was basically tied with 48th place Louisiana. Data for all 12 datapoints of the index except federal taxes were updated for this iteration, and RI benefited by the fact that it was finally able to report data for SNAP (foodstamps), which it had not done for two-and-a-half years thanks to the UHIP debacle.

Compared with June, RI improved on most measures. Employment and labor force were up about 0.6% since the first-reported numbers for June, with RI-based jobs increasing a more-modest 0.3%. Correspondingly, Medicaid enrollment fell 0.8%, while TANF (cash welfare) rolls shrank by 8.0%. SNAP enrollment was down 4.0%, although that is from the number as reported ever since February 2017. The Ocean State had 2.3% fewer residents who counted as long-term unemployed and 3.8% fewer who were working only part time because more work was not available. However, the number counting as marginally attached increased 23.7%.

The picture is also mixed when it comes to money. Personal income was up 3.9% on an annualized basis, which amounted to $1.8 billion more income. However, state and local taxation increased 10.5%, or $349 million, resulting not only from the increased income, but also expansive changes to tax policy.

The first chart shows RI remaining last in New England on JOI, at 47th for September 2019. New Hampshire returned to 1st nationally. Vermont and Maine slipped, to 14th and 19th, respectively. Massachusetts remained 37th. However, Connecticut advanced to 38th.

Rhode Island still held its overall ranking of 47th in the country on the September 2019 third quater Jobs & Opportunity Index.

The second chart shows the gaps between RI and New England and the United States on JOI for September 2019, and the third chart shows the gaps in the official unemployment rate.

Rhode Island still held its overall ranking of 47th in the country on the September 2019 third quater Jobs & Opportunity Index.
Rhode Island still held its overall ranking of 47th in the country on the September 2019 third quater Jobs & Opportunity Index.

Results for the three underlying Jobs & Opportunity Index factors were:

  • Job Outlook Factor (optimism that adequate work is available): RI fell three spots, to 32nd.
  • Freedom Factor (the level of work against reliance on welfare programs): RI advanced two, to 41st.
  • Prosperity Factor (the financial motivation of income versus taxes): RI remained 47th.

Click here for the corresponding employment post on the Ocean State Current.

Are local, state, and federal governments over-reacting to the recent reports of vaping-related illnesses, and even deaths?

The Other Side of the Vaping Debate

Are local, state, and federal governments over-reacting to the recent reports of vaping-related illnesses, and even deaths?

Are the decisions by the governors of Rhode Island and Massachusetts, for instance, to halt the sale of vaping products … which will destroy jobs and businesses … fueled by solid research, or inspired by politically-correct activism?

This week the RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity co-signed a national letter urging the Trump administration’s FDA not to proceed with its proposed regulatory crack-down on what many see as a burgeoning and life-saving industry.

The excerpt below gives the primary argument against governmental over-reaction, while the letter itself strongly presents the other side of the vaping debate.

“Both the FDA and Centers for Disease Control now acknowledge that the recent deaths and respiratory and lung illnesses associated with vaping have largely been caused by the illicit marijuana and THC market. Instead of targeting legal nicotine products that have existed for a decade, the administration’s focus should be on cracking down on California drug dealers that are poisoning consumers with dangerous, unregulated, and counterfeit products sourced from places like China and Mexico.”

Sean Spicer to Keynote Center’s Annual Freedom Banquet; former White House Press Secretary is RI Native

2019 Freedom Banquet to Feature Sean Spicer

Annual Luncheon has Become Rhode Island’s Largest Gathering of Conservatives

Providence, RI Sean Spicer, the Rhode Island native and former White House Press Secretary, will be the keynote speaker the 3rd annual Freedom Banquet, a fundraising luncheon for the RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity.

The October 25 banquet, which has drawn over 200 people in its first two years, has become the largest annual gathering of conservatives in the Ocean State. 

Spicer, who is currently performing on the hit realty-TV series, Dancing With The Stars, will discuss his experiences as Communications Director for the Trump Administration in its turbulent first year. All attendees will receive an autographed copy of Spicer’s book, The Briefing

The luncheon will also feature the announcement of the winner of the Center’s 2019 “Pillar of Freedom” award. Past winners are Robert and Warren Galkin (2017) and Dr. Daniel Harrop (2018). 

Individual tickets can be purchased with a tax-deductible donation of $175 or a table of eight can be reserved for $1200. More information and registration can be found at www.RIFreedom.org/Events .

sean spicer