Number One, in a Bad Way
This gave at least a brief reprieve in a feeling of having company:
WHATEVER YOU TAX — and excessive regulation may also be viewed as a tax, since it forces companies to shell out money that might better be spent elsewhere — disappears, including, in the long run, revenues collected by the tax.
This is what is happening in Connecticut. The current budget is about $16 billion, slouching towards $18 billion; that’s more than twice the bottom-line figure of the last pre-income-tax budget. Taxpayers and taxed companies are disappearing.
But then, the next day brought this:
Rhode Island stands alone as the only Northeastern state “in recession,” according to economists who reported today that the state’s economy hasn’t been this bad in nearly two decades.
The Ocean State’s employment figures, its foreclosure rates, and personal income growth are worse than its neighbors and national averages.
Rhode Island is one of just nine states in recession — the next closest is Ohio — while Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Connecticut have growing economies, according to Steve Cochrane, senior managing director for Economy.com, which is owned by Moody’s Investors Service.
“Clearly, in the northeast, Rhode Island is a picture of weakness,” Cochrane said. …
Why did Rhode Island fare so poorly, given that most of the country has been hurt by the subprime mortgage crisis and subsequent credit crunch?
Cochrane cited these primary factors:
Rhode Island is losing population at a rate that he likened to the exodus in Silicon Valley after the dot-com bust. People returned to Silicon Valley, he said. But there’s no evidence to suggest that Rhode Island will soon increase its pool of potential taxpayers and consumers.
Cochrane notes that our size — as, essentially, a one-metropolitan-area state — means that we don’t have the opportunity for balance, but that could just as easily be a positive on the upswing. To ensure that upswing, step one would be a voter-driven startlingly high turnover rate in the General Assembly. As the guy said, though, “there’s no evidence to suggest that Rhode Island will soon” find its way out of this mess.