What’s Old Is New Again

Just when I started to think that maybe Speaker Gordon Fox gets it. Maybe he is going to lead in the right direction. Some recent examples included his decision to put bills to a House floor vote when they’re ready, not at the last minute. Or his decision to contact the US Justice Department and find out what steps the state needs to take to open legal medical marijuana dispensaries, even though Governor Chafee ran scared from the issue.
But then, Speaker Fox shows that he still doesn’t get it. On the very first night of session, he described his legislative priorities to Ian Donnis over at the Rhode Island Public Radio (RIPR) On Politics blog.

Fox told me these are his top three goals for the session:
The first thing we have to do is get redistricting done. I think the next thing we have to do is deal with the municipal situation – figure out what’s going on with that – and I think we really have to put the foundation in with the casino vote that’s coming up in November.

Wait, what? Did I miss something? Did I miss where Rhode Island’s unemployment rate was magically fixed? Did I misunderstand one of those goals to really mean “to help get Rhode Islanders back to work and create a better business atmosphere for every citizen of the state?”
Speaker Fox, where is the desire to fix this major problem? This is worse than the state pension situation was. You fix this unemployment and bad business climate then everything else falls into place.
Additionally, Donnis mentions:

It’s an election year, of course, in which some observers think the legislature will avoid controversy, steer clear of upsetting public safety unions, and make a relatively fast exit.

Very nice. No controversy, don’t upset any unions and get out fast so they can go bang on doors and serve spaghetti in the late summer and early fall.
Speaker Fox, please add this as your fourth important issue for this session. Don’t be afraid to make the hard decisions, regardless of who gets angry, because the people who will be happy are those who are still sitting home, out of a job. And I guess if you don’t do anything about the unemployment rate, more people will be home to greet the door to door campaigning.

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Justin Katz
Justin Katz
9 years ago

I think it’s important to look at substance when the legislators say something that looks good. Which bills are they going to address early? If, as I think I saw somewhere, the ones on the fast track are requests from administrative departments, there’s little political advantage to holding them, and likely to be little controversy.
Similarly, when Paiva-Weed talks about improving the business climate, she appears to mean a narrow effort to lighten the registration process. They’re all trying to seem like they’re addressing problems in a good-government way while continuing business as usual.

fu@aol.com
fu@aol.com
9 years ago

You can’t both address the municipal pension time bomb and “steer clear of upsetting public safety unions”.
It’s one or the other.
Maybe another November pension session is the answer.

Russ
Russ
9 years ago

“Wait, what? Did I miss something? Did I miss where Rhode Island’s unemployment rate was magically fixed?”
Ha! How many times did I read over here the (nonsensical) statement that government cannot create jobs? Who can even remember what you guys believe over here anymore? I’m sure if the GA had a jobs program on the agenda you’d be all for it. Hahaha!

Patrick
Patrick
9 years ago

Ok Russ, now I agree with the others, you’re just malicious in how you misrepresent what others wrote. I specifically wrote about this issue:
“Build an environment in Rhode Island that promotes job creation. ”
I specifically did NOT say for the Assembly to create jobs. Even the portion that you quoted does not indicate that I expect the Assembly to create jobs. I expect them to do something to lower the unemployment rate. Something like create an environment for businesses (maybe even for shellfishing!) to survive, thrive and hire people in this state.

Dan
Dan
9 years ago

How much would it cost to bus the entire General Assemby over to low-tax, small-government, libertarian New Hampshire for an inservice session explaining how a small New England state 1-hour away from Rhode Island can have half its unemployment rate and a 30% higher average household income.

Max D
Max D
9 years ago

“Ha! How many times did I read over here the (nonsensical) statement that government cannot create jobs? Who can even remember what you guys believe over here anymore? I’m sure if the GA had a jobs program on the agenda you’d be all for it. Hahaha!”
Poor Russ with another lame ass comment designed to obfuscate the fact that left wing policies have set Rhode Island on a spiral up the unemployment ladder. Russ is happy for the status quo. The expansion of the left wing voter base is dependent on how many more they can push into poverty. No one here is looking for a jobs bill except you Russ. We just want a better business climate but thanks for stopping in and puking on your shoes.

Monique
Editor
9 years ago

“left wing policies have set Rhode Island on a spiral up the unemployment ladder.”
Indeed. But it can be turned around, both politically (with the presence of two vibrant political parties in the General Assembly) and legislatively.
However, the latter will take more than lip service. Accordingly, I sincerely hope Justin is mistaken on this point:
” when Paiva-Weed talks about improving the business climate, she appears to mean a narrow effort to lighten the registration process.”

Russ
Russ
9 years ago

If you had any specifics, you might be surprised who would agree with you. For instance, I’ve been fairly critical of the GA for cuts to early stage venture funding initiatives that were advocated by Carcieri. With the site down, you’ll have to take my word for it.
http://www.rifuture.org/funding-cuts-impact-ri-techscience-ranking-.html
Unfortunately the GOP ideas I’ve seen lack specifics or smack of tax cuts mascarading as a job creation plan.
http://www.golocalprov.com/news/20265/

We are currently rated the worst place to run a business and have the 3rd highest unemployment rate in the country,” Sweeney said. “We need to alleviate regulations on small business owners and incentivize them to hire new employees.”

“Incentivize them to hire new employees?” Come on. That’s not a plan. As for regulations, the devil is is the details.

Dan
Dan
9 years ago

“If you had any specifics, you might be surprised who would agree with you. For instance, I’ve been fairly critical of the GA for cuts to early stage venture funding initiatives that were advocated by Carcieri.”

I see. So if a Republican administration advocates for something, that must mean that it is consistent with small government and everyone here agrees with it. This may shock you, Russ, but a lot of the people here aren’t huge fans of Bush or Carcieri.
Your example indicates nothing about open-mindedness on your part. All it illustrates is that you can cherrypick certain interventionist policies you agree with from politicians who happen to be conservative in other areas.
Still waiting to here from Russ, Phil, and all the other progressive-types here why they think Rhode Island is so much worse off than states like New Hampshire. Usually the “why” is an important first step before trying to implement various top-down solutions, but in this case I can see why it is convenient to avoid that elephant in the room. Let me guess, “the corporations”, etc.

Patrick
Patrick
9 years ago

Dan, don’t be stupid. Corporations? Sheesh, no. It’s because of eight years of Don Carcieri. In spite of the General Assembly trying for all eight years to thwart the massive power of the Governor’s seat, they were unable to and Carcieri was able to ram through every single budget and every single bill that he and the rest of his right-wing cronies at the State House wanted in place.
Isn’t it obvious?

Russ
Russ
9 years ago

Actually, I might have said NAFTA (listen to Rep. Paul on this one some time). Since you folks love corporations so much I know you must be big fans.
Me, I don’t doubt some here didn’t like Bush. Libertarians certainly shouldn’t have if they are actually libertarians. As for Carcieri, just pointing out an example of where progressives like me differed with the supposedly “left-wing” GA and where I was in agreement with many non-progressives.

Dan
Dan
9 years ago

So Rhode Island lags behind New Hampshire due to NAFTA. I have to admit, I’ve heard some whacky narratives from progressives, Russ, but that’s a new one. A+ for creativity.

Max D
Max D
9 years ago

“Dan, don’t be stupid. Corporations? Sheesh, no. It’s because of eight years of Don Carcieri. In spite of the General Assembly trying for all eight years to thwart the massive power of the Governor’s seat, they were unable to and Carcieri was able to ram through every single budget and every single bill that he and the rest of his right-wing cronies at the State House wanted in place.
Isn’t it obvious?”

…and he hired his niece sending a crushing blow to the economy across the state. Oh the gall of that man!!!

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