Imagine what Rhode Island could look like if we had a public policy culture that worked for your family instead of the insiders. Recently, Governor Gina Raimondo teamed with the Brookings Institution to create a plan that would once again give special favors to the well-connected. Any reasonable economic analysis, unencumbered by a pre-ordained agenda, would understand that it is at the family and small business level that our problems begin, not at the top. Our families and businesses are over-taxed, over-regulated and the status quo is driving them out of our state.
Make no mistake: “RI Innovates”, created by the Brookings Institution, was inspired by a national agenda. This plan is based on government subsidized, top-down, big industry approach to arbitrarily chosen “advanced industries.” I have referred to it as “Trickle-down Socialism.” A central component of the RhodeMap RI plan was to identify and develop “Growth Centers”, where high-density communities would be subsidized and built, centered around core companies and mass transit. In the Brookings plan, the name has been changed to “innovation districts” where, similarly, massive taxpayer funded subsidies would fund the development of specified advanced industries in specified communities.
There is virtually nothing in this plan that would benefit the average family or small business owner. What will happen to Rhode Islanders who do not fit into one of the narrow silos designated for preferential government treatment? This is patently unfair and inequitable, as the average taxpayer will also be asked to fund these special interest tax breaks. Your family deserves better than more corporate welfare and special interest handouts for the insiders.
If implemented, the RI Innovates agenda would empower the government with risky “venture capital” type authority that would further crowd-out the competitive markets in the private sector and lead to more government control over our lives. Rhode Island needs a new vision, one where the people of our state can achieve prosperity through free-market solutions. Your voice can change the status quo in te Ocean State. We encourage you to speak out and demand a public policy culture that actually addresses the real needs of real families. Thank you.
Mike Stenhouse, CEO