R.I. Desperately Needs Reforms
Last Tuesday, Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo addressed the General Assembly to discuss her budget for the upcoming fiscal year. What she presented reflects Rhode Island’s fiscal policy at large: a mixed bag of decent broad-based reforms, some crony carve-outs, and well-intentioned but misdirected proposals.
The Ocean State’s economy is in trouble; businesses and taxpayers desperately need reforms if the state wishes to compete beyond economically-underperforming New England. When talking about the need to pursue high-wage jobs, Raimondo said Rhode Island “[needs] to skate to where the puck will be.” However, the issues with Rhode Island’s economy are more fundamental than offensive puck control.
In the 2015 edition of “Rich States, Poor States: ALEC-Laffer State Economic Competitiveness Index,” Rhode Island ranks 39th out of the 50 states for economic outlook. Rhode Island has the fourth worst property tax burden in the nation and the third worst debt service-to-tax revenue ratio. The most recent study by State Budget Solutions, a conservative nonprofit based in South Carolina, of unfunded pension liabilities shows Rhode Island is in extremely poor shape: a mere 31 percent funding ratio, resulting in more than $16,000 of debt for every resident.
Horvath, Joe (2016, February 9). R.I. Desperately Needs Reforms. Providence Journal. Retrieved from http://www.providencejournal.com/opinion/20160209/joe-horvath-ri-desperately-needs-reforms