Updated March 28 at 9:28am

Where’s the urgency from leaders on the economy?

Guest Column:
Larry Girouard
Over the last few weeks I have given talks to several town taxpayers groups. Near the end of the presentation I asked the attendees:

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Where’s the urgency from leaders on the economy?


Over the last few weeks I have given talks to several town taxpayers groups. Near the end of the presentation I asked the attendees:

Name one new government policy that has been implemented over the last five years that has made a positive and measurable impact on the Rhode Island economy? Just one!

None offered to date!

Most taxpayers are aware of the low ratings that Rhode Island has both nationally and in the Northeast compared to other states.

These national studies suggest one important, strategic thought ... Rhode Island’s elected leaders need to make some significant changes in the way our state is run or we will continue to see the exodus of people, business and investments at an ever-increasing rate. This exodus reduces the tax base that supports our state and municipal budgets which can ultimately lead to one thing ... higher taxes and fees for those taxpayers who are left.

With the recent changes in House leadership, there are signs that things will be different. Time will tell, but the fiscal reality of Rhode Island suggests that time is running out.

Leaders must look at Rhode Island’s relative strategic position based on the data, and more importantly the reality that Rhode Island is simply not competitive nationally, or in the Northeast.

The view of Rhode Island’s current state must focus on the policies that are presently implemented, and not through the lens of any political ideology.

As Charles Krauthammer stated in his new book, “Things That Matter,” “You can have the most advanced and efflorescent of cultures. Get your politics wrong, however, and everything stands to be swept away.” We must look at the data, and the current state of Rhode Island’s current competitive position.

Much like any business, Rhode Island must be competitive if she expects to retain her current citizens and businesses and attract new ones.

I do not think it is unreasonable for the elected leaders of our state to begin to inform the taxpayers on what their plan is to improve Rhode Island’s competitiveness. As taxpayers we should deserve nothing less. It was a travesty regarding the bankruptcy of Central Falls, and the fact that some of our citizens lost 50 percent of their pensions after working their entire lives to establish a more secure financial position for their families during retirement.

Our taxpayers work hard for the money they earn. Our taxpayers pay some of the highest tax levies in the country to support their government. It is very hard to reconcile the high taxes we all pay, and Rhode Island’s poor national competitiveness rating.

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