The Rhode Island Freedom Index

ricfp-freedomindex-averagescores-2012-2016The Freedom Index examines legislators’ voting records in terms of their likely effect on the free market, the size and scope of government, the balance of residents’ interests against those of public employees and beneficiaries, and the constitutional structure of a divided government with limited power over the people whom it represents.

For recent General Assembly sessions, the Center evaluated thousands of distinct pieces of legislation.  We have recorded the associated floor votes in the House and Senate based on whether or not the legislation preserved or infringed upon individual, economic, or educational freedom. It is the core tenet of the Center that with greater freedom comes greater prosperity, or conversely, as is the case in the Ocean State, that a continued loss of freedom leads to the type of economic stagnation that Rhode Islanders have suffered from over the past decade.

Sadly, in every legislative session we studied, the Rhode Island General Assembly scored well into the negatives, on average.  This indicates that RI lawmakers vote far more often against liberty than they votes in favor of freedom. The General Assembly has clearly moved Rhode Island in the wrong direction, with Rhode Islanders less free than they were the prior year.