Sure, EB is laying off…but we’ve got more slots! III: The Governor Has His Say

In my first post in this series, I sarcastically contrasted two headlines that seemed to sum up the current state of RI economic development. In the second post, I noted that ProJo columnist Edward Achorn had also noticed the contrast and wrote on the topic. Achorn was especially critical of the state’s reliance upon gambling revenue to foot thebill. Now Governor Carcieri has responded with a point by point rebuttal to Achorn. He explains why he’s against a container port (not enough interest by private business), against an LNG facility in Providence (safety concerns), why he supported the expansion of slots at Lincoln Park (and went along with the legislature’s 11th hour expansion at Newport Grand so the deal wouldn’t get killed) so that the burden on RI taxpayers could be lightened, and that the Electric Boat layoffs had more to do with Department of Defense policy than Rhode Island’s business climate. The Governor also noted that there was progress being made:

Almost three years ago, I set an ambitious goal of creating 20,000 net new jobs during my first term as governor. Today, Rhode Island is on track toward achieving that goal. Through November, we have created 14,600 net new jobs — one of the best performances in New England. Further, last month Standard & Poor’s upgraded Rhode Island’s bond rating to AA, citing our economic progress, pension reforms, and overall financial management.
. . . Rhode Island already has a good base to its economy, and we have been working very hard to further strengthen and diversity it, with particular emphasis on biotechnology and other life sciences.
As governor, I have been pro-growth. I will continue to champion economic development and job growth in Rhode Island. I will continue to make the tough decisions to secure our state’s future. And I will continue to protect Rhode Island citizens from unnecessary risks to their safety. Contrary to Mr. Achorn’s misplaced criticisms, that is the correct strategy for moving our state forward, and it’s working! We are removing impediments and Rhode Island is beginning to flourish.

The Governor has a right to be proud of the economic development he’s fostered, especially given he’s a lone-wolf Republican running with a pack of Democrats. Though I may disagree with him on individual issues (gambling and the container port), overall his policies have been a benefit to the state. Most importantly, he is a valuable check to one party power and has sought to be the representative of the people of Rhode Island: not the lawyers or lobbyists, not the unions, not the insurance companies. For the coming year, let’s all focus on trying to give him a little help in 2006.

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