“You say, I only hear what I want to…”

Kate Brewster, executive director of the Poverty Institute at Rhode Island College:

“This is not a State of the State,” Brewster said, “but a state of denial. There was no mention of thousands of working families who are struggling with stagnant wages and skyrocketing costs of living.”

Hmmm. From the Governor’s State of the State Address:

No state can prosper without a growing economy! Without growing employment, increasing wages, and improved profits, tax revenues cannot grow. Between 2002 and 2006, Rhode Island ranked second in private-sector job growth among all New England states.
And we ranked first in job creation since the end of the national recession in 2001. This slowed considerably in the last year – but ebbs and flows are inevitable.
Our per-capita income is among the fastest growing, and our median family income is $61,000, the 11th highest in the nation.
In recent years, we have developed an aggressive strategy to create an innovation economy that will grow higher wage jobs, and help provide a better quality of life for all Rhode Islanders.
Last year, the General Assembly joined with me and the Science and Technology Advisory Council to invest $1.5M in collaborative research. This research will support our economic development strategy.
A major economic development success this past year was the move of Alexion.
With us tonight is Jim Rich. Jim is the Site Director for Alexion Pharmaceuticals in Smithfield. The company moved to Rhode Island from Connecticut when they purchased the former Dow Manufacturing facility in Smithfield. They will begin operations in the spring of 2008, and just received FDA approval to produce Soloris, which will treat a very rare blood disorder. Initially, they will employ 80 people. Join me in welcoming Jim and this wonderful addition to our biotech community.
There has been a great deal of conversation about Quonset lately. Eclipsed in that debate is some exciting news about developments happening inside the park:
* There are more than 150 companies located at Quonset, with nearly 8,000 employees
* In 2006, Quonset saw $26M in expansions and job growth. The new, world-class manufacturing facility built by Hexagon/Brown & Sharpe was a major addition to the Park
A recent exciting announcement is that NOAA is evaluating Quonset as the home port for the nation’s first ocean exploration ship, the Okeanos Explorer.
Combined with the Graduate School of Oceanography, it’s research ship, the Endeavor – and the Inner Space Center – the Ocean State will become the nation’s leading center for ocean research. This will bring more jobs and investment to Rhode Island.
Economic development will be an untiring, and relentless focus of my administration.

Nope, no good news here. I mean, how could “working families” benefit from economic development that makes the state more attractive to business? Pushaw!!! Instead, from its all-good-things-must-come-via-the-government mindset, the Poverty Institute would like to see more taxes:

1) “Reform Tax Expenditures”, which are “credits, deductions, exemptions, exclusions or preferential tax rates that reduce tax liability for selected firms or individuals.”
2) “Revive the Corporate Income Tax”
3) “Broaden the Sales Tax”
4) “Rescind scheduled elimination of 5% tax on capital gain income”
5) “Freeze the Motor Vehicle Excise Tax Phase-Out”

Yes, I’m sure that “thousands of working families” would be very happy to see the car tax stick around and see the sales tax “broadened.” And increasing the tax burden on business sure will help out with “stagnant wages,” won’t it? And, finally, some of those “skyrocketing costs of living” wouldn’t have anything to do with Rhode Island’s already heavy tax burden–that Poverty Inc…er… Institute would like to make heavier–would they?
{My apologies to a certain Brown U. alum with cat-eye glasses}

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
21 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
johnb
johnb
14 years ago

seeing how the poverty institute is funded by the state via RIC, perhaps one of the cuts the governor should consider is to the aforementioned “group-think” tank.
besides, wouldn’t the state be able to better fight poverty if it were to apply the dollars designated for the Poverty institute to programs that actually DO SOMETHING rather than just sit and fume with archaic Great Society rhetoric?

Will
Will
14 years ago

The Projo always seems to find the Poverty Pimps pretty quickly whenever they need a stupid one liner, and they certainly didn’t disappoint this time. What they’re in “denial” about is that they need poverty or they don’t have jobs. Why is the state of RI even in the business of financially backing them anyway? They seem ungrateful.

JSheehan
JSheehan
14 years ago

Judging from the picture on the front page of the ProJo, one would have to conclude that those peopel are not undernourished. In fact, what they don’t need is a health plan, what they need is an exercise program. Start walking – it’s free!

WJF
WJF
14 years ago

JohnB, Not exactly accurate (but not far off). The Poverty Institute is located in the RIC School of Social Work building and according to RIC SSW’s accreditation application the PI receives “in kind” contributions from the school. The next office in the hall is for One RI – a coalition of 160 organizations. One RI develops a platform of legislation that is given to students for them to choose which bill they will lobby for (it has been previously documented that students are not allowed to lobby against them – http://www.anchorrising.com/barnacles/001535.html). The Welfare Evaluation Project produces the “research” that supports One RI’s platform of legislation. WEP is funded by DHS. But the RIC Foundation funds the Poverty Institute. According to Guidestar.org, the RIC Foundation claimed mission is “to encourage and receive gifts on behalf of RI College that provide financial support for the improvement and expansion of RIC.” http://www.guidestar.org/FinDocuments/2006/056/049/2006-056049721-029552ab-9.pdf The IRS 990 form asks for the top 5 highest paid employees. They only list 3, Kate Brewster (Exec Director), Linda Katz (Policy Director) and Ellen Frank (Sr. Economic Analyst) all from the Poverty Institute. On page 11 of the 2005 – 990 form it asks, “during the year, has the organization attempted to influence national, state, or local legislation, including any attempt to influence public opinion on a legislative matter or referendum?” They answered “no.” This is “interesting” as these 3 individuals are also registered lobbyists (http://www2.sec.state.ri.us/lt_filing/lobbyTracker2.0/public/viewreport/?report=21&user=1166). Dawn Nardi, One RI’s only employee (as far as I can tell) is also listed as a lobbyist for “the Poverty Institute.” Where does the $ for One RI come from? Do they report RIC’s “in kind” contributions? Clearly there is some hanky panky going on. Is this something to pursue/investigate? For those interested, write Kate Brewster (kbrewster@ric.edu) and ask her for their… Read more »

Will
Will
14 years ago

Excellent work, WJF. Thank you for the clarifications regarding their sources of funding — which of course, will never be enough for them. I think we shall have to look into this further.

WJF
WJF
14 years ago

ps.
The Welfare Evaluation Project is also located in the halls of RIC SSW (just down the hall from One RI).

WJF
WJF
14 years ago

pss. It is my understanding that when Guy Dufault developed Working RI, at the same meeting they developed One RI. Type in the One RI website (www.oneri.org) and see where it takes you. See the connection yet?
If you are a union member, do you approve of your dues funding these efforts?

SusanD
SusanD
14 years ago

“On page 11 of the 2005 – 990 form it asks, “during the year, has the organization attempted to influence national, state, or local legislation, including any attempt to influence public opinion on a legislative matter or referendum?” They answered “no.”
This is “interesting” as these 3 individuals are also registered lobbyists …”
I got a little lost. You’re talking about the RIC Foundation here, right, WJF?
Is the RIC Foundation a 501c(3)? If they are, they have violated their status in a major way by engaging in political lobbying.

WJF
WJF
14 years ago

Yes Susan, The RIC Foundation is a 501 (c) 3 and they list Kate, Linda and Ellen as their employees (who are registered lobbyists).
501 (c) 3’s are allowed to lobby but it must be limited (approx 5-15% of their activity/funds). The problem is – 1) they say they do not lobby, and 2) by my guess, their employees spend more than 5-15% of their time trying to influence legislations.
But in RI who is going to enforce the law? Mollis? Lynch? Do you think they want to upset the poverty pimps?

John
John
14 years ago

Try Robert Corrente. It is federal, not state law that the Poverty Institute and RIC Foundation appear to be breaking. Maybe you can even get the public sector labor unions — you know, the people whose pensions the poverty advocates have thrown under the bus in the past (and perhaps will try to do so again) — to drop the dime on Kate and her crew.

Pat
Pat
14 years ago

Oh, I get it… hours and hours of professional resarch and analysis… nah, we can dicount that…. a 30 minute speech by a guy who gets an armed driver and three pensions…. YES, he’s the guy we’ll listen to…

SusanD
SusanD
14 years ago

Pat, by all means, let’s disregard the Governor.
Let’s continue driving businesses out of the state. Continue adding to our bloated local and state government. Continue adding recipients to the rolls of social programs. Don’t get real about public pensions (still fiscally the second worst in the country).
And when it all collapses and there is no money to pay the excessive public payroll and pensions or shell out to character destroying social programs, many of us will be standing on the sidelines applauding fiercely.
Because in point of fact, Rhode Island taxpayers have no obligation to fulfil promises made by politicians who were purchased by the recipients of all this public largesse. And you’re absolutely correct that the Governor should stop working so hard to do so.

Marc Comtois
14 years ago

And those hours and hours of research have led to the determination that we can’t just focus on cutting the budget and we also need to “improve Rhode Island’s revenue system.” Of course, a look at the Poverty Institute’s web site doesn’t reveal too many proposals for cutting the budget. Nope, they’re all about proving that RIers aren’t taxed enough or exhibiting that there has never been a tax cut that they’ve liked. Look, I can agree with cutting some loopholes and looking into the real benefits gained by various tax incentives (like for the movies). But then I see other “solutions”. Like taxing businesses more (the fact that businesses prefer to be located in low- tax states continues to be missed, apparently. They aren’t going to choose RI just because…). Or raising the sales tax…er…I mean “broadening the sales tax base.” Rhode Island should bring its sales tax into the 21st century.Over the past decades, the share of consumer dollars that buy services rather than goods has increased substantially–to almost 60 percent in 2002, up from 44 percent in 1969. But Rhode Island taxes only one household service, cable TV, compared with an average of 15 services taxed in other states. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities estimates that taxing all “readily taxable services” could increase Rhode Island’s sales tax revenues by as much as one-third. Heck, maybe I should hand it to the Poverty Institute. Their “broadened” sales tax is actually sorta “flat” and would apply to everyone (rich and poor alike) equally, like a consumption tax. Then there is the recommendation to “reconsider scheduled cuts to the personal income tax.” Tell me again how taking more money out of the pockets of RIs “working families” (like mine, for instance) by taxing more services and holding the… Read more »

WJF
WJF
14 years ago

“So, after all of that research, the Poverty Institute just keeps coming back to the same solution. Give us more of your tax dollars and this time–we promise–it’ll really make a difference!”
The “we just haven’t spent enough” mentality is weak. Just look at the Lakota Indian Reservations in South Dakota. Homes are free, education is free, health care is free, and everyone gets a monthly stipend. As a result the illiteracy rate and the mortality rate are both amongst the highest in the nation. Fetal alcohol syndrome is rampant and it looks like a third world country.

Ragin' Rhode Islander
Ragin' Rhode Islander
14 years ago

>>compared with an average of 15 services taxed in other states.
IF I were the Poverty Institute, I wouldn’t start down the path of citing other states’ tax systems as a justification for RI to emulate – for overall this would compel RI to CUT taxes AND expenditures.
The PI could care less about “working families” – they only care about “public sector ‘working’ families,” i.e., their own and those whose “livelihood” is a welfare check.
The Poverty Institute has about as much credibility as Jesse Shakedown Jackson.
It’s amazing that there are still morons that lend any credence to what either has to say.

SusanD
SusanD
14 years ago

“Just look at the Lakota Indian Reservations in South Dakota. Homes are free, education is free, health care is free, and everyone gets a monthly stipend. As a result the illiteracy rate and the mortality rate are both amongst the highest in the nation. Fetal alcohol syndrome is rampant and it looks like a third world country.”
Wow. Social programs taken to their extreme. And they don’t work.
Question for our elected officials: What exactly are we trying to encourage and/or achieve with social programs? Look, if they had a social program for childless office managers, I’d probably participate and work less hours. It’s human nature. It’s not clear to me, though, that either I or the state would be better off.

Justin Katz
14 years ago

Boy. We could spark an entire conversation on the fact that the Poverty Institute’s online archive folder is named “matriarch,” couldn’t we? Sounds like something a college feminist club would do.

Marc Comtois
14 years ago

Heh, you saw that too, huh Justin? I mean, I could see it being the “parent” directory…but jeez. Could you play any more to stereotype?

SusanD
SusanD
14 years ago

At last, we are beginning to realize our vision of a matriarchal society. We have empowered our sisters to establish male-less families with targeted social programs.
The last step is Operation Komodo Dragon. Stem cell research combined with sufficient federal grants should allow us to achieve human parthenogenesis.

Valium
11 years ago

OHlxMsNt Valium Ambien

Adonedowmog
8 years ago

required answers to a questionnaire that cheapcialisonlinesjy.com sedatives and 13.6 percent for stimulants) were genericcialispricezbk.com With serous price stopped self such the ailments kidney is corn and mine don&#8217t mostly all within a cialis must patients viagra 50mg canadian pipes canadian viagra 50mg advised that bill also of table early another indigenous however cheapest medicate history. and other illicit drugs should include the
College Drinking Prevention http://www.genericviagrapricezjh.com Data Analyses viagra price controlled substances only when there is a valid CASA’s survey found that a significant

Show your support for Anchor Rising with a 25-cent-per-day subscription.