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Available Back Issues:
Issues are issued in paper. They are archived irregularly here.
- Aug 09 (38) - How your government's
economic policies have worked against you. What a fake nineteenth
century nun can teach us about the tea party protests.
- Jun 09 (37) - Statistics of
optimism, the real cost of your government. Judith Reilly on
renewable tax credits. Review of Akerlof and Shiller on behavioral
- Apr 09 (36) - Cap and trade, the
truth behind the card check controversy, review of Governor's tax
policy workgroup final report.
- Feb 09 (35) - The many varieties of
market failures, and what classic economics has to say about them,
review of Nixonland by Rick Perlstein.
- Dec 08 (34) - Can "Housing First"
end homelessness? The perils of TIF. Review of You Can't Be
President by John MacArthur.
- Oct 08 (33) - Wage stagnation,
financial innovation and deregulation: creating the financial
crisis, the political rhetoric of the Medicaid waiver.
- Jul 08 (32) - Where has the money
gone? Could suburban sprawl be part of our fiscal problem? Review
of Bad Money by Kevin Phillips, news trivia or trivial
- Apr 08 (31) - Understanding
homelessness in RI, by Eric Hirsch, market segmentation and the
housing market, the economics of irrationality.
- Feb 08 (30) - IRS migration data,
and what it says about RI, a close look at "entitlements", historic
credit taxonomy, an investment banking sub-primer.
- Dec 07 (29) - A look at the state's
underinsured, economic geography with IRS data.
- Oct 07 (28) - Choosing the most
expensive ways to fight crime, bait and switch tax cuts, review
of Against Prediction, about the perils of using statistics
to fight crime.
- Aug 07 (27) - Sub-prime mortgages
fall heaviest on some neighborhoods, biotech patents in decline, no photo
IDs for voting, review of Al Gore's Against Reason
- Jun 07 (26) - Education
funding, budget secrecy, book review of Boomsday and the Social
Security Trustees' Report
- May 07 (25) - Municipal finance: could citizen
mobility cause high property taxes?
What some Depression-era economists had to say on investment, and why
it's relevant today, again.
- Mar 07 (24) - The state budget
disaster and how we got here. Structural deficit, health care,
borrowing, unfunded liabilities, the works.
- Jan 07 (23) - The impact of real
estate speculation on housing prices, reshaping the electoral college.
Book review of Blocking the Courthouse Door on tort "reform."
- Dec 06 (22) - State deficit: What's
so responsible about this? DOT bonding madness, Quonset, again,
Massachusetts budget comparison.
- Oct 06 (21) - Book review: Out of
Iraq by Geo. McGovern and William Polk, New rules about supervisors
undercut unions, New Hampshire comparisons, and November referenda guide.
- Aug 06 (20) - Measuring teacher
quality, anti-planning referenda and the conspiracy to promote them,
affordable housing in the suburbs, union elections v. card checks.
- Jun 06 (19) - Education report, Do
tax cut really shrink government?, Casinos and constitutions, State historic tax
credit: who uses it.
- May 06 (18) - Distribution
analysis of property taxes by town, critique of RIEDC statistics,
how to reform health care, and how not to.
- Mar 06 (17) - Critique of commonly
used statistics: RI/MA rich people disparity, median income, etc.
Our economic dependence on high health care spending. Review of
Crashing the Gate
- Feb 06 (16) - Unnecessary
accounting changes mean disaster ahead for state and towns, reforming
property tax assessment, random state budget notes.
- Jan 06 (15) - Educational equity,
estimating the amount of real estate speculation in Rhode Island,
interview with Thom Deller, Providence's chief planner.
- Nov 05 (14) - The distribution of
affordable houses and people who need them, a look at RI's affordable
- Sep 05 (13) - A solution to pension
strife, review of J.K. Galbraith biography and why we should care.
- Jul 05 (12) - Kelo v. New London:
Eminent Domain, and what's between the lines in New London.
- Jun 05 (11) - Teacher salaries,
Veterinarian salaries and the
minimum wage. Book review: Confessions of an Economic Hit Man
- Apr 05 (10) - Choosing a crisis: Tax fairness and school
funding, suggestions for reform. Book review: business location and
- Feb 05 (9) - State and teacher
pension costs kept artificially high. Miscellaneous tax suggestions for balancing the state budget.
- Dec 04 (8) - Welfare applications and the iconography of welfare
department logos. The reality of the Social Security trust fund.
- Oct 04 (7) - RIPTA and DOT, who's really in crisis?
- Aug 04 (6) - MTBE and well pollution, Mathematical problems with property taxes
- May 04 (5) - A look at food-safety issues: mad cows, genetic engineering, disappearing farmland.
- Mar 04 (4) - FY05 RI State Budget Critique.
- Feb 04 (3) - A close look at the Blue Cross of RI annual statement.
- Oct 03 (2) - Taxing matters, a historical overview of tax burdens in Rhode Island
- Oct 03 Appendix - Methodology notes and sources for October issue
- Apr 03 (1) - FY04 RI State Budget critique
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The Rhode Island Policy Reporter is an independent news source that
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Wed, 26 Apr 2006
The House Finance Committee yesterday passed a law cutting the taxes
of people who earn more than around $250,000 per year. The tax cuts
will increase over the next five or six years, until they reach over
$75 million, according to House Finance, or over $100 million,
These people are, of course, virtually the only people in Rhode
Island whose state and local taxes are significantly lower
now than they were ten years ago, so I'm not really sure what the
problem is. In other words, yes, the plan is to give a cut to the
people who need it least, and who already got their tax cut over the
past few years.
As an alternative to this very expensive and foolish plan, I
propose this instead. The state shall subsidize the cost of a
bi-weekly massage for everyone whose family income is over $250,000.
At about $30 per visit, this will also be approximately $7 million per
year, but at least the cost won't double next year.
13:11 - 26 Apr 2006 [/y6/ap]
Fri, 21 Apr 2006
The Senate Tax Plan
Posting has been light while I finish up a big project, but news of
the Senate tax reform plan brought me back. You can read about the
but here's a summary:
- Reduce the property tax levy cap to 4.0% per year from the current
- Reduce the cap on state budget increases from 5.5% per year to
4.0% per year.
- Increase the property tax circuit breaker for the elderly and
- Eliminate "unfunded mandates" of the state on cities and
And here's why it's so stupid.
- Capping the levy increases
- Who thinks that towns are
increasing their budgets just because they want to? Who is it who
believes that city councillors and town managers are not seeking ways
to reduce their budgets? Show me one of those people and I will show
you someone who doesn't pay much attention to their local government.
Or I will show you an idiot.
Announcing to the world that you will
insist that municipal governments cut their budgets is another way to
say that you actually have no clue at all how municipal governments
can possibly lower their budget, but also that you don't really
- Capping the state budget
- What a grand idea. Presumably
after forcing all those spendthrift towns to cut their budgets, we
have to make darn sure that the state can't step in and pay for
valuable services the municipality can't afford. No, dear, we can't
- Property tax circuit breaker
- This is slated to go up from
a maximum of $250 per year to a whopping $300. Wow.
- Unfunded mandates
- This is actually a very good idea, but
it's a little difficult to see how it's going to work as proposed.
For example, the whole idea of public education is an unfunded (or
only partially funded) mandate. Is the Senate simply proposing that
the courts work this out for them?
The whole proposal smells like the same old same old: hashed over
ideas aired by people who don't really have any idea what goes on in
city halls and school departments. This can't possibly be the best
the Senate can do.
14:25 - 21 Apr 2006 [/y6/ap]
Wed, 05 Apr 2006
Bush tax cuts
in the New York Times outlines the effects of the Bush tax cuts on
investment income a couple of years back.
(For those losing count of the tax cuts, this was a different round
than the cuts on wages and other noninvestment income.)
Americans with annual incomes of $1 million or more, about one-tenth
of 1 percent all taxpayers, reaped 43 percent of all the savings on
investment taxes in 2003. The savings for these taxpayers
averaged about $41,400 each.
This is from an analysis of 2003 tax data, so the savings will be
much bigger for 2004 and 2005, since the stock market performed much
better those years.
Remember, these are the people that our leading lights insist make
up such a valuable part of our state that we need to cut
13:20 - 05 Apr 2006 [/y6/ap]
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