State of the State Address
Governor Raimondo’s State of the State address would have you believe Rhode Island is a model of progress, despite four years of continued economic stagnation, runaway deficits, and rankings at or near last in terms of business environment. Rather than being honest with Rhode Islanders, she uses our citizens as props in a false narrative of economic achievements and job creation for a once-a-year reckoning with accountability.
Spending vs. Cuts
How does our governor expect to pay for new and existing programs when she only proposes more spending initiatives and no cuts at all? What about our ever-expanding Medicaid rolls, rising taxes, energy bills, and our $260 million deficit? She claims that health insurance premiums are among the lowest in the nation, while a third of the state is on Medicaid, and then promises to expand coverage for other conditions like opioid addiction and mental health. Proposing new programs sounds good, but does our governor understand basic issues like balancing a budget and providing real solutions for these pressing problems instead of endless new spending initiatives that will ultimately drive up costs for all Rhode Islanders?
The governor loves to talk about jobs she created, bringing 2000 jobs to our state in four years, but neglects to say that she awarded and spent $166 million in corporate welfare to attract these jobs. That’s $83,000 a job, assuming they even materialize and stay in Rhode Island. Governor Raimondo’s administration pays hundreds of millions to bring jobs while doing little to consider costs or create an attractive overall climate for businesses of all sizes. As a private businessman, I know what it is to balance a budget, cut costs, and be accountable. I also recognize that, for the most part, it is businesses that create jobs and economic prosperity, not the government. Look at any of her government projects in terms of costs vs. results and you will see a different picture than she claims in her annual address.
Results and When?
Like her $1 billion bond proposal for our schools, we have to ask when we will see results for the governor’s endless spending initiatives or why we have not seen these results after four years in office. Our schools are in dire need of repairs and investment, but with no real accountability or timelines in sight, do we really want to mortgage our future with bonds, runaway property taxes, and a growing cost of living for Rhode Islanders? Why not target waste
and come up with transparent, more cost-effective ways of financing such crucial programs instead of handing out money to her consultants and corporate friends, incurring massive debts on top of our existing deficits?
In the current environment, when our country is benefiting from federal tax cuts, increased investment, and levels of growth and consumer confidence we have not witnessed for years, our state is failing and our elected officials from both parties have lost touch with our voters, as if they learned nothing from the 2016 election. Governor Raimondo hardly needs to “protect” us from this reality, but rather needs to understand how our state could benefit from working with Washington.
As your governor and as an independent, I will work with both parties to build consensus in confronting those issues which have plagued our state for years, from runaway taxes and regulations to our failing schools and human services. Together, we can make Rhode Island a better place to live, to work, and to retire.