Rhode Island Economy

Zero.Zero Sales Tax: Objections and Who’s Objecting

By Justin Katz | December 28, 2012 |

As it happens, somebody forwarded to me the following Wall Street Journal political diary entry by Allysia Finley on the same day that the Providence Journal’s Philip Marcello reported that the Republicans in the Rhode Island House are considering championing the RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity’s proposal to eliminate the state’s sales tax. Continue…

November Employment: Rhode Island’s Peculiar Growth Abates

By Justin Katz | December 27, 2012 |

After two months of unexpectedly strong employment growth, Rhode Island’s surge abated. Unemployment held at 10.4%, leaving the state at second worst in the nation, with Nevada rapidly making up the distance, and the number 3 California finally slipping below 10%. According to survey data released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the pace…

RI Only State Losing Population Two Years in a Row

By Justin Katz | December 21, 2012 |

Since the U.S. Census department released its latest state-by-state population estimates, it has been widely reported that Rhode Island was one of only two states to lose population from 2011 to 2012. The other was Vermont. However, as with the RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity’s findings in September, looking more deeply reveals that the…

Rhode Island’s Poor Entrepreneurial Performance

By Justin Katz | December 21, 2012 |

The word “entrepreneur” has been thrown around Rhode Island a lot in recent months and years. To most people, one suspects, concepts like economic development, entrepreneurialism, knowledge economy, twenty-first century workforce, and skills gap blur into a mosaic of sounds-good promises. The idea is that “they” (the folks in positions to modify public policy) are…

Town-by-Town Single-Family Home Sales, November

By Justin Katz | December 19, 2012 |

Single-family home sales in Rhode Island continued to edge toward equilibrium, in November, meaning that the number of sales increased at an accelerated rate, while the inventory of houses on the market continued to go down. The median sales price continued to go down, too, but its rate of decrease remained steady. Continue reading on…

Forbes: RI = 49th “Best” State for Business

By Marc Comtois | December 13, 2012 |

Dog bites man, I know, but national publications constantly touting how bad this state is does have an effect. That being said, if recent election results are any indication, Rhode Islanders–well, at least those who stick around–just don’t really care. Rhode Island ranks No. 49 this year, down one spot from 2011. Rhode Island has…

Economic Freedom? Not in Rhode Island.

By Justin Katz | December 4, 2012 |

To kick off a two-year planning process, the RI Economic Development Corporation under Governor Lincoln Chafee is seeking a contractor to, among other things, “analyze existing business climate reviews from the past three years, such as the Tax Foundation’s State Business Tax Climate Index, Beacon Hill Institute’s State Competitiveness Rankings, and Forbes Best States for…

Rhode Island’s Government Payroll: Living Beyond Our Means

By Justin Katz | November 28, 2012 |

When a family comes to a decision about purchasing any product or service, it doesn’t merely accept the seller’s sense of what’s reasonable. In addition to the market rate, consumers must take into account the quality of the thing they’re buying as well as their own ability to afford it. With deteriorating infrastructure, doubts about…

October Employment: Boomtime in Rhode Island?

By Justin Katz | November 20, 2012 |

Rhode Island’s employment results, as reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), would surely surprise the tens of thousands of Rhode Islanders who are struggling to survive the state’s continuing downturn: For the second month in a row, the Ocean State led the nation in employment growth. The state still has the second…

Inefficiency in Economic Development: Money Looking for Makers

By Justin Katz | November 19, 2012 |

Readers of Philip Marcelo’s article, in today’s Providence Journal, about restoration of the historic-structure tax credit program in Rhode Island should see some warning signs indicative of a broader flaw in government economic development: … the national recession and a 2008 moratorium on the tax-credit program brought such projects to a near halt. Dozens stalled…