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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.
Now at bookstores near you, or buy it with the button above ($14,
or $18 with shipping and sales tax).
Contact information below if you'd
like to schedule a book-related event, like a possibly entertaining talk on the
book's subjects, featuring the famous mystery graph.
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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.
If you'd like to help, please contribute
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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
For those of you who can read english and understand it, the following
is an email address you are welcome to use. If you are a web bot, we hope
you can't understand it, and that's the point of writing it this way.
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.
Tue, 28 Apr 2009
RI Budget Buzzword Bingo!
Fun for the whole family! Click on the card for details!
10:35 - 28 Apr 2009 [/y9/ap]
Thu, 23 Apr 2009
Issue 36 of the Rhode Island Policy Reporter is out:
- A review of "cap and trade," the plan to control global carbon
dioxide emissions. Did you know we have lots of experience with
plans like this? Some lessons from that experience.
- A closer look at the controversy over EFCA and secret ballot union
elections. "Card-check" is not the provision large employers find
most alarming, just the issue that polls better.
- Book review of the final report of the Governor's blue-ribbon
commission on tax reform. Summary: hackneyed plot, but interesting
Didn't you mean to subscribe already?
Subscription details here.
08:10 - 23 Apr 2009 [/y9/ap]
Wed, 22 Apr 2009
We get mail:
Dear RI Policy Reporter
I was at the "Tea Party" you wrote about on April 15th. I had a Giant
poster of a Tea cup, labeled "Iraq - One big cup of tea. Stop big
spending! $660 billion of our tax money spent." Funny thing is I was not
made very welcome and had -"support the troops" and other comments spoken
or occasionally shouted at me - the most disturbing one was an older man,
well past the age of military service that shouted that I "should be
ashamed of myself?" I am confused, I though I was protesting big wasteful
spending of tax money handed out to the politically favored. Were did I go
wrong? Help me RI Policy Reporter.
Confused in Providence
Some people are just trouble makers.
08:32 - 22 Apr 2009 [/y9/ap]
Sun, 19 Apr 2009
Boston Tea Party a protest against corporate tax cuts
A funny piece
points out that the East India Company was granted a huge tax break
that threatened the livelihood of anyone in America who sold tea and
that this was the real background to the tea party. Puts some of last week's tea-related festivities in perspective.
00:35 - 19 Apr 2009 [/y9/ap]
a record of successful Prop 2½ override votes. It's an
interesting list. Apparently summer communities do this pretty
frequently, which is not terribly surprising. But some of the others
aren't obvious candidates.
00:26 - 19 Apr 2009 [/y9/ap]
Sat, 11 Apr 2009
The NCSL mistake rears its ugly head
In 2007, the National Conference of State Legislators made a terrible
mistake about RI's budget, calling a tax that had been on the books
for a dozen years a "$70 million tax increase." They were wrong, but
the error lives on, most recently in the RI section of this
document, brought to my attention by the organizers of the tea-bag
You can read the original
column, or the followup regarding NCSL's
use of copyright laws to prevent me from showing their errors to the
reading public, such as it is.
13:32 - 11 Apr 2009 [/y9/ap]
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