Heading to the Finish Line

I’ve been told (via various advertisements) that yes votes on ballot Questions 1, 2, 3, 4 and 7 will each bring jobs. If it’s that simple, maybe Rhode Island should consider adding 10 or 20 more questions to the ballot every two years, since they could all bring jobs too.
In the race for District 4 State Representative, incumbent (and Speaker of the House) Gordon Fox wants a careful review of all monies used in support of challenger Mark Binder (or used in opposition to Gordon Fox). I think Binder spokesman Peter Kerwin is correct to point out that if the Speaker’s understanding of where the millions of dollars he helped appropriate to 38 studios was going had been as meticulous as his tracking of a few thousand dollars spent by political opponents, the state would be in better shape at the moment.
And speaking of 38 Studios, the state’s Economic Development Corporation has filed a lawsuit involving the $75M loan guarantee made to 38 Studios. Meanwhile, the Rhode Island Secretary of State, in consultation with the state’s Housing Resources Commission, has sent out voter handbooks telling the voters that $225M in additional matching funds will become available if they approve Question 7, while question 7 advocates have publicly said the matching number will likely be closer to $125M. If the programs that use this bond don’t get the additional $100M that they’ve been promised in the official voter handbook, is someone going to get sued? Oh, that’s right, the SoS and the Housing Resources Commission are fully within the government, so they’re allowed to make up numbers without consequence.
The Providence Phoenix pulled the Democratic master lever in its endorsements in this week’s paper. Here’s the beginning of their reason for endorsing incumbent Democratic Congressman David Cicilline…

[I]f Cicilline proved a less-than-ideal fit for an executive position — for a mayor’s nuts-and-bolts management — he is well-suited to the legislature; Congress is the place where Cicilline might finally realize his potential.
The question is, what kind of potential is suggested by David Cicilline’s eight years as a legislator on Smith Hill, where he voted to increase state spending from $3.5B to $5.4B (B as in billion), by voting for leadership budgets in 7 of 8 years in office and for their overall leadership spending framework in the eighth, when it comes to Federal spending that is predicted to grow from $3.6T to $5.5T (T as in trillion) over the next decade?
Finally, remember that, even if you start your voting by choosing the straight-ticket option, you can still mark your ballot for individuals of the “other” party in individual races, and it’s the votes for the person and not the party that count in those races. As that absolutely reliable font of information, the Secretary of State’s voter handbook says…
If you cast a straight party vote and also vote separately for an individual candidate or candidates for a certain office on the ballot, only the individual party candidate or candidates that you voted for separately will be counted for that office. The straight party vote will not be counted for that office, but it will still apply in all the offices you do not separately complete.
Be sure to tell a friend!

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11 years ago

Mark Binder is in no position to criticize Speaker Fox over 38 Studios because, as a progressive who supports public-private investment and the EDC, he is unable to articulate a single principled reason why he would have opposed the 38 Studios deal or any other of the many failed loans made by the RIEDC or PEDC. Progressives unabashedly support EDC-type investments in private companies using taxpayer money and can articulate nothing that would change any of the fundamental problems and incentives with EDC lending. Central economic planning is a core component of their political platform. Attacking the amount of money spent on 38 Studios is a completely arbitrary and unprincipled criticism made for political gain. That goes double for Bob Plain and the rest of the RIFuture crowd criticizing the EDC ex post. I note that contributor John Speck is again weighing in on the loan, now criticizing it after he earlier supported it on that website. No retraction, no apology. Nice luxury to be right 100% the time.
Best quote from the lawsuit complaint:
“None of the board members were experts in law, lending, video gaming, or economic development.” And that statement is made in defense of the board!
If that’s the case, then why were they on the economic development corporation board and why were they authorized to lend out millions in taxpayer money? So they’re just a bunch of empty suits who rely on hearsay and blindly follow consultant reports? That should make taxpayers feel much better about where their millions are going.

11 years ago

“[I]f Cicilline proved a less-than-ideal fit for an executive position — for a mayor’s nuts-and-bolts management
Nuts and bolts management? Would that be the euphemism for a deliberate, months long, politically motivated, potentially actionable cover-up and massive lie-fest about the real fiscal condition of the City of Providence?

11 years ago

“If that’s the case, then why were they on the economic development corporation board and why were they authorized to lend out millions in taxpayer money?”
So let’s set aside for a moment that those most complicit – Speaker Fox and Senate President Paiva-Weed – in this loss were exempted from this lawsuit. Why was the EDC Bd of Directors, who DID vote on the loan, exempted as defendants yet the Executive Director (Stokes), who DIDN’T vote on the loan, included as a defendant?

11 years ago

Evaluating the 38 Studios loan in terms of who held which position, who said what to whom, who should have done what, etc. is a mistake because the individuals involved are incidental. It plays directly into progressive hands by getting bogged down in the irrelevant details of the transaction while ignoring the fundamental flaws of this type of central economic planning. All of the incentives that led to this loan occurring are rooted in the fundamental role and operation of the EDC and continue to be present as the EDC plunges forward with its arbitrary new batch of appointees tasked with handing out public funds to private companies. Retain the same perverse incentives in place and results will not improve regardless of so-called accountability after the fact.
Progressives, such as Binder, Plain, et al, attack 38 Studios only because 1) the loan in fact failed and 2) it’s an opportunity to attack select political opponents. Neither of these are principled objections to the loan and when pressed on the issue, all of these progressives support the EDC in its current functionality and want more public investment in private companies. Central economic planning doesn’t work – it’s a fundamentally flawed resource-distribution model and it’s inefficient. It’s been discredited by mainstream economics for the past century. That is the important lesson that isn’t being discussed. It doesn’t matter how big or small the loans are. Progressive opportunists like Binder, Plain, and Speck need to be called out on supporting the EDC and the exact same types of loans that they criticize in hindsight when a default in fact occurs.

11 years ago

“support the EDC in its current functionality and want more public investment in private companies.”
NOOO! Not a dollar more to any company.
Shut down the EDC. Now. It has become a false front behind which the real EDC (the General Assembly) can hide and shirk from its (economic development) responsibilities.

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