The Current Week, 04/23/12-04/29/12


04/24/12 – House Finance CommitteeLiveblog
The House Finance committee hears a variety of tax proposals, mainly concentrating on taxing "the rich"; Justin writes live.

04/26/12 – Senate Floor and House FinanceLiveblog
Liveblogging from the Senate floor session and some committee to be determined.

Justin's Case

State in Decline, Employment in RI Cities and Towns: BurrillvilleResearch
Burrillville's unemployment rate equals the statewide average of 11.8% mainly because the town's employment has not matched its growing labor force.  Consequently, unemployment is near the town's all-time high.
State in Decline, Employment in RI Cities and Towns: Central FallsResearch
The not-seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate for Central Falls was 15.6% in March and would be much higher if the same percentage of the population were in the labor force as in other RI cities and towns.
Tax Reform and Medicaid Money-Go-RoundInvestigative Report
RI's income tax reform affected taxpayers with little income beyond what they pay for medical care.  As the state seeks to fill in the gap for low-income Medicaid recipients, the gravity of government complexity grows.
State in Decline, Employment in RI Cities and Towns: CranstonResearch
Cranston's unemployment rate is below that of RI overall. Most interesting, though, is how trends in employment compare with those in Warwick, for very different results.
Providence Budget Illustrates Pension CharadeAnalysis
Inflated assumptions for pension system rates of return mean that the budget that Providence Mayor Angel Taveras unveiled this evening (and all current RI budgets) amounts to an accounting trick to disguise future tax increases and pension cuts.

State in Decline, Employment in RI Cities and Towns: CumberlandResearch
Cumberland is somewhat unique in Rhode Island, in that from 2000 to 2010 it gained employment.  Still, its labor force grew more quickly, so its unemployment is still high, and all numbers are down from their boom-time peak.

State in Decline, Employment in RI Cities and Towns: PortsmouthResearch
In terms of employment change from 2000 to 2010, Portsmouth is pretty much the typical RI town. The town weathered the recession well, until 2010, and its seasonal swings create an interesting comparison with the rest of Aquidneck Island.
Using Providence for Pension "Liability" PerspectiveAnalysis
Pension actuaries use the word "liability" differently than the layman would.  The total actuarial accrued liability of Providence's pension system has been given as $1.3 billion, with about $0.4 billion in assets, but the liability as most people would probably conceive of it is more likely $5.7 billion, with the same $0.4 billion saved up to date.

State in Decline, Employment in RI Cities and Towns: East ProvidenceResearch
Not seasonally adjusted, East Providence's unemployment rate of 12.8% is well above the state's average.  With its total employment near a record low and its labor force nearly there, as well, it's even more concerning that unemployed residents remain near the high.
Giving the Regulator the Power to PoliceAnalysis
S2680, from Sen. Walaska, appears to open the door for the PUC to act as a police force. Senate Judiciary hears the bill, today.
When Is a Sleazy Politician Non-Partisan?Opinion
The Providence Journal publishes an entire article about him without letting on that John Edwards is a Democrat, much less that he was almost vice president on that party's ticket.

State in Decline, Employment in RI Cities and Towns: Foster and GlocesterResearch
In a comparison that plays out in other competing communities in RI, Foster and Glocester exhibit an interesting dynamic. Foster has significantly higher unemployment, but its number of employed residents is up, while Glocester's is down. The difference is the number of people who want to work.
What's the Complaint, with ALEC?Opinion
In some circles, local ties to ALEC have been hot news this week, but Justin isn't sure that the complaint against the group is really what it's being articulated
Even Minimal Take from Table Games May Be OverstatedAnalysis
Ian Donnis has looked into RI's negotiations for its share of prospective casino revenue, and pulling all the data together suggests that table games may only mean $9 million per year to the state government.

State in Decline, Employment in RI Cities and Towns: JohnstonResearch
At 12.9% (not seasonally adjusted), Johnston has among the highest unemployment rates in Rhode Island. Like some other cities and towns, however,  Much of the employment gap results from the presence of additional people in the workforce.

State in Decline, Employment in RI Cities and Towns: LincolnResearch
Lincoln's employment trend over the last decade was along the typical Rhode Island line, with labor force growing substantially while employment receded. Since 2010, however, the town's situation has not improved, although it remains better situated than the state overall.

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