Governor’s 2019-20 Budget: The Rhode to Serfdom

Providence, RI — Instead of seeking to shape Rhode Island’s future with the proven ideals of a free-society, Governor Raimondo’s proposed 2019-2020 budget is a stunning departure from America’s core values and, instead, would put our state on a “Rhode to Serfdom,” according to the RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity.

With the Ocean State doomed to lose a US Congressional seat because of its hostile tax, educational, and business environment, which chases away wealth, families, and businesses, the policies presented in the Governor’s budget would make matters far worse.

“Just yesterday, I attended a thoughtful lecture by the chief economist for JP Morgan Chase at an event hosted by the RI Society of CPAs. His message was that economic growth is the best path to achieve prosperity and to manage deficits … not raising taxes and not necessarily cutting spending,” commented Mike Stenhouse, the Center’s CEO. “However, this Governor’s regressive budget points us 180 degrees in the opposite direction and would stifle any opportunity for growth. Ocean Staters are clearly being forced down a Rhode to serfdom.”

With new government-imposed health insurance mandates that will further burden already distressed families as well as employers who are already suffering from one of the worst business climates in the nation, and along with a bevy of new taxes and fees that will further restrain economic growth, the proposed budget takes a giant step backwards towards a centrally-planned society, where government controls more and more aspects of our lives. The entire country is thriving, economically, from reduced government intrusion into our lives, but these progressive-left policies would increase dependency on government.

The proposed Medicaid tax on businesses and the individual mandate are particularly egregious. Each would serve as yet another reason for large employers and families to stay away from Rhode Island. It is oppressive that the government would seek to punish employers for not compensating their workers how the government wants them to; or to punish individuals not being able to afford the high-cost insurance resulting from the government created Obamacare mandates.

“For the better part of a decade, the State has encouraged and bragged about the number of people enrolled in Medicaid with taxpayer funded ads, and now she wants to make businesses pay for it,” cynically question the Center’s research director, Justin Katz.

Equally disturbing, the budget contains no meaningful remedies to the many problems that plague our state, such as high taxes across the board, high energy and healthcare costs, and onerous regulatory burdens on job-producers.

“On top of her irresponsible new spending proposals, clearly designed to benefit special-interest unions, the reliance on SIN taxes to pay for these schemes will tear at the cultural fabric of our society,” continued Stenhouse. “The continued attacks against legal firearms owners and smokers, along with the unsustainable increase in overall government spending, with its immoral budget scoops, also points Rhode Island back towards a totalitarian form of government that I thought we were done with in America.”

For these reasons and more, Rhode Island suffers from an epidemic of people and businesses fleeing our state. “Maybe it’s time to build our own wall to keep people in,” joked Stenhouse earlier in the week.

The Center again calls on General Assembly leaders to reduce the state’s sales tax, citing existing law that requires such a rate-reduction if certain “internet” taxes are enacted. With the multitude of new sales taxes imposed in recent budgets, the Center maintains that we have essentially reached that legal threshold.

Tax Cuts & Jobs Act

Federal ‘Tax Cuts & Jobs Act’ Should Ease RI Budget Deficits

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 20, 2017

State Budget Will Benefit from Federal Tax Reforms

Economic Growth Will Boost Sales and Income Tax Revenues

Providence, RI – Ironically, Rhode Island’s political class, incessantly in search of new revenues, is criticizing the recently passed “Tax Cuts & Jobs Act,” which could generate more statewide revenues in a more responsible way than any other scheme they have devised themselves.

The Rhode Island Center for Freedom & Prosperity points out that because individuals and businesses necessarily reside in some state, that the economic growth – expected to result from the federal tax reforms – will lead to a boost in state revenues.

In Rhode Island:

  • With about 80% of its residents soon to keep – and spend – more of their hard-earned paychecks … state sales tax revenues will increase
  • With more businesses to keep more of their profits, more and better paying jobs will be created … resulting in more state income tax revenues
  • With more businesses earning more profits and pass through incomes … more capital gains tax and normal income tax revenues will be collected, not to mention increases to individuals’ 401k or other equity positions
  • And, best of all for Rhode Island, it’s the federal government that must deal with the positive or negative budget implications … meaning that the state revenue increases described above come with no strings attached and with no risk.

Further, the reality of the federal reforms, often the target of scorn by the Rhode Island’s political leaders, could mean that more businesses choose to relocate or become established in American, and in states like Rhode Island.

“It is alarming that state officials would deny tax cuts to families and businesses, just to advance their partisan class-warfare narrative,” commented Mike Stenhouse, CEO for the Center. “Because of these federal tax reforms, Rhode Island will no longer need to subsidize taxpayer-funded corporate hand-outs in order to see more and better paying jobs organically grow in our state.”

On the negative side, under the reforms passed today, because state and local income and property tax deductions (SALT) will be limited to ten thousand dollars per year, high-income households and high-value property owners may end up paying more in taxes. This unfortunate circumstance should not be blamed on the federal reforms but, rather, on the state and local governments who have been excessively imposing taxes on its residents … and which have unfairly relied on federal taxpayers in other states to subsidize their high levels of taxation.


Rhode Islanders need a credible alternative to the status quo and its destructive progressive ideas. You can help.

Click here to find out more >>>

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!

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The Center has long-maintained that Rhode Island’s corporate welfare based economic development strategy is not sufficient to spur robust economic growth and jobs creation. Instead, the Center has advocated that broad-based, pro-growth tax and regulator reforms – like those that just passed the US Congress – that will lessen burdens on every business and most families in our state – are the only means by which more and better companies will produce more and better-paying jobs.

According to the Center, it is organic economic growth, not corporate welfare schemes, that can alleviate the problems suffered by Rhode Island employers and families … as exemplified by bottom-10 national rankings in such broad-based indexes as: overall state business climate; Family Prosperity Index, Jobs & Opportunity Index; occupational licensing burdens; and the recently released poverty report.

The Raimondo administration is heaping additional burdens on employers by doling out tens of millions of their hard-earned tax dollars to Infosys.

Statement on Infosys Announcement: Small Businesses Should Be the Focus

Pro Small Business Measures Would Benefit Ocean State More than Infosys-Type Corporate Welfare

Federal Tax Reforms Could Open Door for Real Economic Growth

Providence, RI – Just days after touting “Small Business Saturday” the Raimondo administration has heaped additional tax burdens on employers and taxpayers in the Ocean State by doling out tens of millions of their hard-earned dollars to Infosys. Today’s announcement of yet another astro-turf corporate welfare scheme underscores how little is being done to nurture small business employers, who account for well over 90% of all jobs in the state.

Ironically, the RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity points out that it may be reforms in Washington, DC … often the target of scorn by the Governor … that could be the main reason behind the Infosys announcement, and that may spur real, grass-rootseconomic growth.

“There is little doubt in my mind that the primary reason why Infosys is now locating more jobs in America is because of the easing of federal regulations that we have seen this year,” commented Mike Stenhouse, CEO for the Center. “If Congress next passes its Tax Cuts & Jobs Act, companies won’t need taxpayer-funded hand-outs to decide to become established and to flourish in our state.”


Rhode Islanders need a credible alternative to the status quo and its destructive progressive ideas. You can help.

Click here to find out more >>>

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!

show less


The Center has long-maintained that Rhode Island’s corporate welfare based economic development strategy, like the Infosys deal, is not sufficient to spur robust economic growth and jobs creation. Instead, the Center has advocated that broad-based tax and regulator reforms – that will lessen burdens every business in our state – are the only means by which more and better companies will produce more and better-paying jobs.

“The Infosys deal does nothing to improve our state’s dismal business climate and will help very few Rhode Islanders,” continued Stenhouse. “Interestingly, while statewide legislative leaders continue to hamper small business growth, it may be the federal government that will take concrete steps to actually improve the climate for all small and large businesses.

“According to the Center, corporate welfare schemes will do little to alleviate the problems suffered by Rhode Island employers and families … as exemplified by bottom-10 national rankings in such broad-based indexes as: overall state business climate, Family Prosperity Index, Jobs & Opportunity Index, occupational licensing burdens, and the recently released poverty report.

State to Restrict Free Movement of Goods? Preemptive strike to force truckers to pay future tolls in Rhode Island

STATEMENT: Center Blasts “Truck Toll Tyranny” as Bullying by RIDOT

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 17, 2017

State to Restrict Free Movement of Goods?

Heavy-Handed Totalitarian Measure Seen as Preemptive Strike to Force Truckers to Pay Future Tolls

Providence, RI – In a heavy-handed edict, reminiscent of soviet-style totalitarianism, the state of Rhode Island is seeking to restrict the free-flow of goods and commerce by restricting trucker traffic on secondary roads. This, according to the RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity, in response to a RIDOT requested and approved agenda item at a 9:30 AM meeting today of the State Traffic Commission at the State House.


Rhode Islanders need a credible alternative to the status quo and its destructive progressive ideas. You can help.

Click here to find out more >>>

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!

show less


“This is truck toll tyranny. It is an obvious preemptive attack against the RI Trucking Association by the State in a blatant attempt to force truckers to pay future tolls,” averred Mike Stenhouse, CEO for the Center. “The dishonesty of the State – in claiming this outrageous move is to preserve the safety of roads – is nothing more than government bullying of a political opponent. This restriction of free-commerce and the free movement of goods is something you would expect to see in soviet socialist countries, not in America. When the power of government is turned against its own citizens, especially when for petty political payback purposes, we all should shudder at this infringement on our liberties.”

The official letter acknowledging this agenda item, with details of restricted roadways:

 

This official letter from the state is a a heavy-handed edict, reminiscent of soviet-style totalitarianism, the state of Rhode Island is seeking to restrict the free-flow of goods and commerce by restricting trucker traffic on secondary roads.


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!