Saving Rhode Island in a Few Simple (But Difficult) Steps
Hoping that repetition will get the message across, Ed Achorn tells Rhode Islanders that happy thoughts will not turn the beast around:
These pages have spelled out for years what must be done: Cut spending to what Rhode Island can afford. Make taxes competitive with (at least) those in neighboring states. Attack the public-employee-pension nightmare, and bring overall benefits for such employees back to earth.
Reform business regulations, including the over-reaching fire code, to make Rhode Island welcoming to job creators. Cut costly mandates to cities and towns. Encourage the municipalities in the state to merge as many of their services as possible. The duplication and waste are terrible.
Obey the constitution by fully implementing separation of powers and get rid of the straight-ticket voting option, so that Rhode Island functions more like other, more progressive and civic-minded states. Focus more on serving students at public schools. Develop the ports. Put a greater percentage of public dollars into higher education and infrastructure repair.
If our leaders did all that, Rhode Island’s terrific advantages would spring to the fore, and we would be poised to boom as never before when hard times ended, reaping tax revenues that would provide all the money we would need for superb government services, including compassionate aid to the needy. As a bonus, residents would be much happier and healthier.
The probability is, though, that we’re in for another half-decade of pain, and that’s assuming the next two years are bad enough to spur the voters to change their behavior.