The Current Week 05/14/12 – 05/18/12
Fiscal Oversight as a Path to MERS, Central Falls and Beyond – Analysis
A bill by Sen. Crowley and the Dept. of Revenue would allow cities and towns to use the state oversight process to move retirees into the state-run MERS pension system.
Backstopping and Insulating Local Pensions via Legislation – Analysis
Legislation bringing Central Falls and other municipalities into MERS limits pension cuts to 25% and may set precedent for repeated state bailouts.
05/17/12 – Committee on Finance – Liveblog
Justin writes live from the RI Senate Committee on Finance, including Central Falls retirees and a path to MERS.
Raimondo Raises Concerns About Central Falls Transfer into MERS – Analysis
General Treasurer Gina Raimondo expresses concerns about a bill to bring Central Falls and other struggling pension systems into MERS.
Government Second Only to Finance for Fraud – Analysis
Government and public administration has moved up to 2nd on a list of fraud-prone industries, with health care and education climbing quickly.
State in Decline, Employment in RI Cities and Towns: Narragansett – Research
At 8.5% (not seasonally adjusted) Narragansett's unemployment rate is low, for RI, but the reason is that its labor force adjusts more than usual to gained and lost employment.
State in Decline, Employment in RI Cities and Towns: New Shoreham – Research
New Shoreham's March unemployment of 29.5% (not seasonally adjusted) is high by any measure, but it may be more concerning that both summer peaks and winter troughs have been lower than any time since 1994.
"Did You Know" All Presidential History Points to Obama? – Opinion
President Obama's staff has been promoting his agenda on the biographical pages of previous presidents.
One Group Leaving RI: Young, Single, and College Educated – Analysis
During no period, from 1965 to 2000, did young, single college graduates increase in number in Rhode Island, according to the U.S. Census.
A Little Perspective on the 38 Studios "Hook" – Opinion
It is definitely a matter of concern that 38 Studios may cost RI some large portion of the debt that it guaranteed, but Justin suggests a little perspective might be in order to learn from the experience.
State in Decline, Employment in RI Cities and Towns: North Kingstown – Research
North Kingstown's low-for-RI unemployment rate disguises a town that hasn't grown much and now has an historically low number of employed residents.
The High Cost of Mandates, Wind, and Energy – Analysis
Rhode Island has the seventh highest energy costs, and renewable energy standards are a likely contributor.
State in Decline, Employment in RI Cities and Towns: Richmond – Research
Richmond has the second lowest unemployment in Rhode Island, but its longer term trends are arguably the healthiest.
Common Sense and the Google Windfall – Opinion
Using a police windfall award to (possibly) eliminate pension problems may seem like common sense, but when the dynamics of government are considered, Justin suggests rationality goes in the other direction.
Senator's Wife Caught Up in RI Licensing – Investigative Report
Sen. John Tassoni's wife lacked a license for her day care center, but he won't comment about whether RI's licensing regulations are too burdensome.
RI Sees Largest Year-Over-Year Employment Decline – Analysis
Not only has RI's sharp drop in employment continued, but its trend is increasingly opposite that of the nation.
Rhode Island Doubling Down in Risky Economic Development – Opinion
38 Studios has brought into stark relief the problems of government-run economic development.
State in Decline, Employment in RI Cities and Towns: South Kingstown – Research
South Kingstown as seen significant growth over the past two decades, but the trend has begun to reverse, over the past few years.