Policy Reform: Reform Renewable Energy Mandates

Laws maneating that a certain portion of our energy must be derived from renewable sources actually force households and businesses to pay higher energy costs, creating another drag on our already failing state economy. These laws are based on false assumptions. The cronyism and rate-payer funding of related special-interest projects are examples of corruption that are needlessly encouraged by such laws.

Rhode Island’s energy prices are among the highest in the nation. During these difficult economic times, we must do everything we can, no matter how small, to enhance our business climate and to reduce the cost of living for everyone. To this end, renewable energy mandates must be repealed or reformed.

Further, there is a new energy reality in America, with less of the perceived green benefit that inspired these laws in the first place. Most of these mandates were ushered into law during a period when many original assumptions, which have since proven to be false, were the mainstream thinking. Almost a decade later, there is a new energy reality that we must consider.

FALSE ENERGY ASSUMPTIONS that were a basis of RI’s renewable energy mandate laws:
  • Global warming would be great danger to our Earth: Whether global warming exists or whether the contribution of human beings to climate change and the ability of tolerable behavioral changes to make a decisive difference are now in open dispute, with conflicting data recently surfacing and increasing questions about original data.
  • Fossil fuel sources would become scarce in the near future: New natural gas, shale, and crude discoveries throughout the world have debunked this concern for the foreseeable future.
  • Fossil fuels would become increasingly expensive: Coal and natural gas continue to be the least expensive sources of electricity and will continue to be the most cost-efficient sources of energy in the coming decades.
  • Renewable energy would be abundantly plentiful: The inconsistency of wind and solar sources means that additional fossil-fuel plants must often be built as a “backup” systems.
  • Renewable energy would be more cost-efficient: Renewable energy costs remain significantly higher than conventional sources, and there are few near-term expectations that this will change.
  • Renewable energy would spur a boom in green jobs: There has been no such boom; many once-promising green companies have gone out of business because of low market demand. Some European countries that invested heavily in the green revolution suffered through more job losses than gains.
  • Renewable energy is better for the environment: Maybe not. The need for backup power plants decreases environmental efficiency. Better air quality can be achieved via natural gas, which is significantly cleaner than coal.  “Energy sprawl” is a popular term among environmentalists to describe the massive amount of land or sea area required for wind or solar farms, considered eye-pollution, and the miles of transmission lines required that often cut through pristine landscapes. Further, windmills are a danger to birds and bats.


 Reform or repeal of these mandates would save money for every family and business and would no longer be a drag on our state’s economy.

Specific Recommendations:

In light of the new energy reality, our state must enact reforms that would allow utilities, and thereby consumers, to better adapt to next-generation energy technologies:

  1. Review all renewable energy mandate laws to determine their viability
  2. Repeal the most unreasonable mandates
  3. Broaden the standards in some laws to include all next-generation energy technologies including nuclear, combined cycle natural gas, geothermal, etc.
  4. Adjust the compliance schedule to provide greater flexibility through altering deadlines or percentage targets
  5. Make the program voluntary and waive all noncompliance penalties

Policy Brief by the Center to be posted in the near future …

Related Studies:

Manhattan Institute study demonstrates that Renewable Power Mandates Drives Up Electricity Prices

New survey disputes “consensus” claims about man-made climate changes

Policy Reform: Eliminate Corporate Welfare



View our “End Corporate Welfare” policy brief here … 


38 Studios-style cronyism is not capitalism … and it must end!

When political insiders secure special funding or bailouts for themselves, funded by your taxpayer dollars, it creates an unfair playing field, upsetting the competitive landscape. Wasteful spending by incompetent bureaucrats and legislators and flat-out special-interest favoritism are parts of the corruption that must be curtailed in the Ocean State.

Specific Recommendations:

 A) Formally end the practice of corporate welfare in Rhode Island government.

 B) Defund the capacity of the Economic Development Corp. (EDC) to put taxpayer dollars at risk by financially supporting private business endeavors.

View our “End Corporate Welfare” policy brief here … 








Policy Reform: School Choice, Special-Needs Scholarships, and School Grading System


Closing The Gap

“Bright Today” education reforms

Every child deserves not just a bright future, but also a bright today. Students will only be young once and cannot wait for long-term education reforms to take hold. Families must have choices in education, and we must close educational gaps now!

Options and Accountability

The State of Florida has blazed a new path for education reform, and Rhode Island should pay attention. Increasing parental choice as well as administrative and teacher accountability in multiple ways has rocketed the Sunshine State closer or beyond the Ocean State by multiple metrics. Florida’s gains among minorities, the disadvantaged, and the disabled cannot be ignored.

Go to our “Closing The Gap” education study home page here …


“Bright Today” Scholarship Program for Special-Needs Students:

No student should be condemned to attend a failed school, especially the most vulnerable among us. The best way to serve the needs of a diverse population is to give families the freedom to choose the schools — public, private, or charter — that best fit their children’s needs.

Our Center’s school voucher recommendation for special-needs students is a good place to start in providing choice to Rhode Island families.

Read about our “Bright Today Scholarship Program” here …


Straightforward Grading of Schools:

However extensive their access to options, parents need a straightforward grading system to determine how their schools compare with others. This increased level of transparency will provide educators, legislators, and families with greater insight into school performance.


Related Information:

Does the RI Dep’t of Education’s School Report Card process give extra credit to schools that don’t have significant minority or special needs student subgroups?  See The Ocean State Current blog here … 

Policy Reform: add market-based reforms to Health Benefits Exchange

Highly Burdensome Federal Healthcare Regulations

Provide more options for more people for affordable, quality, healthcare services!

The expansion of complex government and special-interest control over our highly personal healthcare decisions will not give Americans what they want. Rhode Islanders want access to quality care and the freedom to choose the best plans for their families!
As part of the Affordable Care Act and its Health Benefits Exchange, the state of Rhode Island, its health care providers, civic and community groups, and private citizens should embrace market- and patient-driven solutions to these challenges as part of a “Health Care Freedom Act“, including:
  1. Increase the availability of care for both newly insured and the remaining uninsured by eliminating regulatory obstacles to new, innovative providers of health care services including the “Certificate of Need” law that blocks competition for medical facilities and regulations that stifle ‘retail health clinics’ such as MinuteClinic.
  2. Expand the availability of health care financing to those left out of the Affordable Care Act by allowing consumers to purchase low-cost ‘mandate-free’ policies and insurance regulated in other states, as well as promoting the availability of non-insurance alternatives such as ‘Health Sharing Ministries’ and critical-illness policies.
  3. Build on the Affordable Care Act’s pricing and transparency reforms by adopting and utilizing ‘bundled’ or ‘packaged’ prices for episodes of care and embracing real ‘cash’ prices for consumers purchasing their own health care services from physicians and hospitals.
  4. Transform health care for government workers by embracing consumer-driven plans that lower costs while continuing to deliver high-quality, accessible care.
  5. Renew the state’s innovative Medicaid waiver and modernize it to provide beneficiaries with health care funding mechanisms similar to Health Savings Account for appropriate populations.
  6. Prohibit automatic enrollment in other social service programs via the health benefits portal

The result of embracing these and other market- and consumer-driven policies in health care can make Rhode Island the national leader in delivering high-quality, accessible, and affordable care to its people, helping to create prosperity by relieving the taxpayers and the private sector of the high burden of health care costs.

Read about the Center’s “Healthcare Freedom Act” here …

Go to our Healthcare home page here … 

Read how gov’t bureaucrats are planning to transform the “health benefits portal” into a DEPENDENCY PORTAL …

How RI is creating an Expressway to Dependency



Policy Reform: Give Rhode Islanders a “Right to Work”

Right To Work = Worker Freedom

Right to Work = FREEDOM for Ocean State workers!

All workers want full freedom to pursue a career of their choice.  Freedom of Association is a core American liberty that should be extended to all Rhode Islanders looking to negotiate their own workplace rules, have full incentives to perform at a high level, and determine whether or not pay union dues is in their best interests.

Enacting Right-To-Work (RTW) policies would give Rhode Island a major advantage over its neighbors by making it the only New England state with RTW protections for its workers — without costing the state a dime in budget expense.

Read our Center’s Right-To-Work policy brief here …



Policy Reform: Eliminate the Sales Tax

Rhode Islanders want more financial security and control over their own lives. Increased job opportunities, higher wages, and enhanced job security can all be achieved in a robust economy.

Phase out or immediately eliminate the sales tax. This tax reform policy will produce an immediate boost to the RI economy and will produce more jobs than any other solution on the table, creating 20,000+ new jobs in the Ocean State!

Imagine the renewed sense of security you and your children will feel, knowing that there are more career opportunities to choose from and knowing that your employer is more likely to remain in business, as well as the opportunity to earn higher wages in a more competitive economy.

View the Zero.Zero report here …

Visit the Zero.Zero home page here …

75-38-400  or  68-0.0-5000 ?

Consider the $75 million the state wasted on 38 Studios, chasing after just 400 jobs. Compare that with first year budget cuts of $68 million to pay for Zero.Zero, producing 5,000 jobs that year alone!