Rhode Island Policy Reporter

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A look at the lousy situation Rhode Island is in, how we got here, and how we might be able to get out.

Budget Demystification!
Fiscal Derring-Do!
Economic Jiggery-Pokery!

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RIPR is a (paper) newsletter and a weekly column appearing in ten of Rhode Island's finer newspapers. The goal is to look at local, state and federal policy issues that affect life here in the Ocean State, concentrating on action, not intentions or talk.

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whole site RIPR back issues

Available Back Issues:

  • 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 economics.
  • 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 news.
  • 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 housing laws.
  • 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 tax incentives.
  • 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
Issues are issued in paper. They are archived irregularly here.

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The Rhode Island Policy Reporter is an independent news source that specializes in the technical issues of public policy that matter so much to all our lives, but that also tend not to be reported very well or even at all. The publication is owned and operated by Tom Sgouros, who has written all the text you'll find on this site, except for the articles with actual bylines.


Creative Commons License Tom Sgouros

Wed, 30 Aug 2006

Issue 20 out

Watch your mailbox.

  • Land-use planning and anti-takings referenda in the west, bad planning in the east.
  • Peter Asen on Labor law you didn't know about. When does a majority not count?
  • Teacher quality. How much does it really matter? (See this exchange.)

Extra bonus: a free statistics lesson. Isn't this a fine time to subscribe?

20:50 - 30 Aug 2006 [/y6/au]

Fri, 25 Aug 2006

Takings -- As Predicted

In an article last year, RIPR described the Supreme Court Kelo decision as just another battle in the war to make property rights absolute. Now it seems that it has inspired perfectly awful initiatives in ten states, mostly in the west. These initiatives will make it difficult or impossible for the governments in those states to engage in any kind of environmental regulation. See here for more.

This is why it's ok to bemoan the uses to which eminent domain was put in New London, but making a rant about eminent domain itself plays directly into the hands of libertarians who think all regulation is evil.

09:09 - 25 Aug 2006 [/y6/au]

Fri, 11 Aug 2006

Clean Water Action endorses candidates

There's a US Senate endorsement in there, too.

For Immediate Release
August 11, 2006
Contact: Sheila Dormody, (401) 331-6972

Clean Water Action Endorses Charlie Fogarty for Governor and Environmentalists for General Assembly and US Senate

Group cites need for state to take action to prevent global warming

Providence-Clean Water Action announced their endorsement of Charlie Fogarty in the Rhode Island governor's race today.

"Rhode Island voters have a real choice in November," said Sheila Dormody, Rhode Island director of Clean Water Action. "While Gov. Carcieri has neglected to join the groundbreaking plan to cut global warming pollution from power plants and lower energy costs for Rhode Islanders, Charlie Fogarty has pledged to join the plan and lead Rhode Island to a cleaner energy future."

The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) is the first regional climate policy in the United States. RGGI will cap carbon dioxide emissions from electric power plants. The program would be designed to save consumers money and maximize energy efficiency. Seven northeast governors (from Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, and Vermont) signed a memorandum of understanding in December 2005 to move forward with the plan. Maryland has passed legislation that will result in that state joining the program as well. Despite participating in the two-year process to develop the agreement, Gov. Carcieri did not bring Rhode Island into the initiative.

"In the next four years, Rhode Island will need to address major environmental and economic issues ranging from investments in energy efficiency, protecting our drinking water supply and open spaces, and promoting public transportation," said Dormody. "Charlie Fogarty understands that environmental protection is key to maintaining a successful tourism industry, strong economy and high quality of life in Rhode Island. Clean Water Action trusts Charlie Fogarty to protect our right to clean air and water and a healthy environment."

General Assembly Environmental Endorsements Announced

Clean Water Action also announced their endorsements of pro-environment candidates for the 2006 general assembly races.

"In the coming legislative session, we will need to strengthen laws to prevent diesel pollution, promote renewable energy and energy efficiency, and to stop toxic threats from electronic waste," said Dormody. "We need to elect candidates who will pass strong environmental protection laws. These environmentalists have earned Clean Water Action's endorsement."

State Representative Candidates

  • 2 David Segal (D-East Providence, Providence)
  • 11 Grace Diaz (D-Providence)
  • 18 Art Handy (D-Cranston)
  • 36 Donna Walsh (D-Westerly, Charlestown, S. Kingstown)
  • 22 Peter Ginaitt (D-Warwick)
  • 69 Raymond Gallison Jr. (D-Bristol, Portsmouth)
  • 72 Amy Rice (D-Middletown, Newport, Portsmouth)

State Senate Candidates

  • 3 Rhoda Perry (D-Providence)
  • 5 Alexis Gorriaran (D-Providence) (primary endorsement only)
  • 18 Paul Moura (D- East Providence)
  • 28 Josh Miller (D-Cranston)

US Senate Endorsements Announced

In the U.S. Senate race, Clean Water Action announced their endorsements for Sheldon Whitehouse in the Democratic Primary and Sen. Lincoln Chafee in the Republican Primary.

"Each of the U.S. Senate primaries offers a clear choice for environmental voters," said Dormody.

"Sheldon Whitehouse has long been a champion for the environment in Rhode Island. As the Attorney General, Whitehouse worked closely with the environmental community and initiated the landmark lawsuit against the paint industry to hold them accountable for the lead paint that has contaminated the majority of Rhode Island's housing stock," said Dormody

"Senator Chafee has stood up to the pressure from his party and defeated the Bush administration's "Clear Skies" bill which would have increased power plant pollution," said Dormody. "Clean Water Action members want a U.S. Senator who will stand up to this administration's threats to our basic environmental protection laws."

Membership Mobilization to Get Out the Vote

The grassroots environmental group will be contacting its 10,000 members in communities across Rhode Island by going door-to-door, making phone calls, and mailing letters to urge them to vote for environmental candidates.

Clean Water Action has been working since 1972 for clean, safe and affordable drinking water, prevention of health threatening pollution, and empowerment of people to make democracy work. Clean Water Action has over 1,000,000 members nation-wide.

09:09 - 11 Aug 2006 [/y6/au]

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