One of the Few Manufacturing Jobs that We Don’t Need: Gov Chafee Manufactures Out of Thin Air a Brand New Business Climate Factor

The headline of Governor Chafee’s OpEd in today’s Providence Journal summarizes his premise:

Gay marriage key to flourishing R.I. economy

But is it? Several analyses have placed Rhode Island at or near the bottom for business-unfriendliness. What criteria did they use to rank the states? Helpfully, in their December, 2012 report [PDF] “A Review of Rhode Island’s Business Climate and Cost of Doing Business Rankings”, RIPEC has aggregated much of this information. From the tables on pages four, seven and ten, I compiled the criteria and list them after the jump.
Combing through these lists, nothing comes close to Governor Chafee’s purported new criteria to measure a state’s business climate.
The question itself of gay marriage leaves me viscerally unmoved either way. Conversely, the sight of Rhode Island’s top general officer twisting the truth in the vital matter of the state’s fragile economic viability so as to advance a key component of a politically correct but economically irrelevant agenda renders me exasperated and angry.
It is time to address Rhode Island’s economy and unemployment rate (lower but still the third worst in the country) by legislatively improving the state’s business climate. Creative fiction about what it takes to accomplish this only leads us onto a false and distracting tangent, keeping us further away from our goal – all the more so when the fiction is communicated with the prestige and natural amplification of the state’s Executive Branch.
[Monique is Editor of the RI Taxpayer Times newsletter.]


From RIPEC’s “A Review of Rhode Island’s Business Climate and Cost of Doing Business Rankings” [PDF].
Criteria used by CNBC’s “Best States for Business 2010-2012”:

Cost of Doing Business –
Workforce –
Quality of Life –
Economy –
Transportation –
Technology & Innovation –
Education –
Business Friendliness –
Access to Capital –
Cost of Living

Criteria used by Forbes’ “The Best States for Business, 2012”

Cost of Doing Business –
Labor Supply –
Regulatory Environment –
Economic Climate –
Growth Prospects –
Quality of Life

The Beacon Hill Institute “State Competitiveness Rankings”, which ranked Rhode Island 19th for competitiveness, uses a slightly different set of criteria:

Govt. & Fiscal Policy –
Security –
Infrastructure –
Human Resources –
Technology –
Business Incubation –
Openness –
Environmental Policy

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ANTHONY
ANTHONY
8 years ago

Actually the Missing Link misspoke. What he meant to say is that the key to the RI revival is medical maryjane, free tuition to illegals AND gay marriage.

Warrington Faust
Warrington Faust
8 years ago

Re: Gay Marriage. Chafee probably wants to attract those who feel that they “are on the right side of history”, but doesn’t wish to offend those who oppose gay marriage. So, he is inventing an unassailable reason, it’s “vital to the economy”.
Most of the reasons given for a good business climate seem difficult to quantify. I think a few facts and a lot of supposition went into producing the rankings. Are businesses flooding into the high ranked states?

jgardner
jgardner
8 years ago

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, those who use economics as a reason to support same-sex marriage are doing the rest of us a disservice.

Dan
Dan
8 years ago

I support same-sex marriage (second to getting government out of marriage) and I also feel these economic justifications are ludicrous and intellectually dishonest.

Russ
Russ
8 years ago

Disagree with him if you like, but it’s disengenuous to pretend Chafee “manufactured” the claims as the OpEd states…

The professor and author Richard Florida has found evidence of a strong correlation between tolerance and economic prosperity, particularly in high-tech sectors. He writes that “a connection exists between a metropolitan area’s level of tolerance for a range of people, its ethnic and social diversity and its success in attracting talented people, including high-technology workers. People in technology businesses are drawn to places known for diversity of thought and open-mindedness.” Mr. Florida has also identified the three T’s — talent, technology and tolerance — as the fundamental basis for the growth of new economies.

See “Technology and Tolerance: The Importance of Diversity to High-Technology Growth.”
http://www.urban.org/publications/1000492.html

mike678
mike678
8 years ago

Correlation does not equal causation. There is also a large difference between tolerance and acceptance. But then again, most of us know this…

Dan
Dan
8 years ago

As if it’s even possible to measure something like “tolerance” in a scientific and objective way. What a load of rubbish. Certainly not a sound basis upon which to base economic policy.

Russ
Russ
8 years ago

“Correlation does not equal causation.”
That’s not what Florida suggests, only that of all the variables studied a metropolitan area’s percentage of gay residents was the “only significant predictor of high-tech growth in a region.”

We do not mean to imply that these results prove that a large gay population or concentration of bohemians directly causes the development of a technology industry; the theory is that people in technology businesses are drawn to places known for diversity of thought and open-mindedness, and that our measures potentially get at a broader concept of diversity and inclusiveness.

“Keep your tax incentives and highway interchanges, we will go where the highly skilled people are.” — Carly Fiorina

Dan
Dan
8 years ago

Russ – Rhode Island is already known as an extremely “gay-friendly” place. Somehow the sexual preferences of those individuals haven’t translated into economic growth. Perhaps if more people start having alternative sex the state will turn around, but that seems like a rather silly concept to me. I think the RIFuture crowd and the governor are really reaching with this sell.

Russ
Russ
8 years ago

“Rhode Island is already known as an extremely ‘gay-friendly’ place.”
And we could be more so. Why not leverage our strengths. Moreover regarding marriage equality…
http://www.creativeclass.com/_v3/creative_class/2009/05/19/benefits-of-marriage-equality/

“Data from the American Community Survey suggest that marriage equality has a small but positive impact on the number of individuals in same-sex couples who are attracted to a state. However, marriage equality appears to have a larger impact on the types of individuals in same-sex couples who are attracted to a state. In Massachusetts, marriage equality resulted in an increase of younger, female, and more highly educated and skilled individuals in same-sex couples moving to the state… The evidence that marriage equality may enhance the ability of Massachusetts to attract highly skilled creative class workers among those in same-sex couples offers some support that the policy has the potential to have a long-term positive economic impact.”

Sammy in Arizona
Sammy in Arizona
8 years ago

The one thing that married gay couples are NOT doing is filling the world with children with only one parent.It’s hard to imagine that allowing more people to make the emotional and financial commitment of marriage could cause family breakdown or more welfare spending. Many surveys have shown, that the gay folks who do chose marriage tend to be more educated, and upper income folks, who are law abiding and hard working, patriotic Americans

Warrington Faust
Warrington Faust
8 years ago

“Correlation does not equal causation.”
How about the idea that High Tech attracts people with a high threshold of tolerance, and then they create the “tolerant atmosphere”.
All things considered, realistic estimates are that 3% of the population has gay tendencies. Can they all be centered in High Tech? My 9th grade English teacher wasn’t.

Russ
Russ
8 years ago

“How about the idea that High Tech attracts people with a high threshold of tolerance, and then they create the ‘tolerant atmosphere.'”
If so, then the correlation would be in reverse. As is, diversity is a good predicator of high-tech growth. Perhaps the opposite is true in some cases, but that’s not what Florida found in his analysis.
“All things considered, realistic estimates are that 3% of the population has gay tendencies. Can they all be centered in High Tech?”
No, that’s not it at all. I suspect IT has no more or less than anywhere else. The point is that “people in technology businesses are drawn to places known for diversity of thought and open-mindedness.” That’s true of many if not most in IT/digital media. Certainly true of those I know from start-ups.

Warrington Faust
Warrington Faust
8 years ago

Russ, I can’t argue the point. The evidence presented to distinquish between “cause and correlation” is not sufficient. It may be that a single factor has been isolated and inflated.
Without question “Birds of a feather flock together”.

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