RIPR: Ten Things You Don't Know About Rhode Island

Have you noticed there is very little disagreement about the state budget among state lawmakers? The Governor and the legislature agree that taxes are too high, services too generous and cities and towns too demanding.

But have you also wondered why—if everyone agrees—things don't get better? Is it the all-powerful unions (who keep losing high-profile confrontations in the state house)? Or maybe the underpaid lobbyists for poor people have the legislature wriggling in their iron grip? There's another possibility: maybe the conventional wisdom is just wrong.

Tom Sgouros, editor of the Rhode Island Policy Reporter speaks on Ten Things You Don't Know About Rhode Island, about how we got into this mess, what's different about our weird little state, and how we can possibly get out of the fiasco we've created for ourselves.

  • Did you know that average pay for white collar professional jobs here is roughly comparable to that in MA and CT, while blue collar work is paid much worse?
  • Did you know that we began to lose rich people from our state long before we had an income tax? And that for quite a few of the last 10 years, more rich people arrived here than left?
  • Did you know that the state left tens of millions of dollars in potential cost savings on the table after their big audit?
  • Did you know that our fiscal crisis was no accident?

Also featuring: Budget demystification! State finance derring-do! Audience participation with the famous mystery graph! And a description of a colossal event relevant to state and town budgets—the biggest in our nation's history, and still unfolding—and completely ignored in the halls of the state house.

Remember: if the conventional wisdom was always right, wouldn't this be an earthly paradise?