Thursday, July 12, 2012

Today on RI Future

RI Future:

Get ready for the conservative barrage that because Rhode Island ranked as the least business-friendly state we should adjust policy to appease the good editors at CNBC. But before we do, take a look at what CNBC says are the top two states in which to business – Texas and Utah – and the bottom two – Rhode Island and Hawaii. Where would you rather move your business to?

By the way, every northeastern state finished in the bottom half of this list. Conversely, Rhode Island was the only northeastern state not to finish in the top 10 for education.

Speaking of public education, RIDE’s own Jason P. Becker has a great post today filling in for Ted Nesi titled: “Woonsocket, not the state, failed to fund city schools.” He writes that because the state has increased education aid to schools there and the city has decreased funding that it’s Woonsocket’s fault it doesn’t have enough money. If only government were so simple … for at least the past three years, Woonsocket has raised property taxes very close to as much as the state allowed, and during that same period Woonsocket lost out on some $12 million it expected in state aid. I would argue the question is not did the state do more than Woonsocket, the question is did either do enough.

The Projo’s story on a Middletown group home with more than 400 at-risk kids living there that was closed due to conditions the state felt were “not suitable for the children” reads like something out of Dickens, or Annie.

Maryellen Butke’s campaign for state senator has a new advocate: Donna Perry, who is both the executive director of the Rhode Island Statewide Coalition and John DePetro’s sister. I bet she won’t be bragging about that endosement as she door knocks on the East Side.

Basically, if the state hadn't cut funding to all cities, Woonsocket would still be solvent and underinvesting in education. Or, if their local taxes were as high as Providence's, they'd be broke and underfunded, but not completely insolvent. Combine state cuts, a history of lower local taxes, and overall political dysfunction, and you've got bankruptcy.

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