Empirical data related to the ideology of state-level legislators suggests that, yes, Rhode Island is very liberal.
Polemics can give a sense of the debate concerning reasonable predictions, and investment returns are no different.
North Providence's low-for-Rhode-Island unemployment rate masks the fact that the city's number of employed residents has never been lower in the DLT's 22 years of data.
The weekly roundup of Ocean State Current posts and articles.
Lincoln's employment trend over the last decade was along the typical Rhode Island line, with labor force growing substantially while employment receded. Since 2010, however, the town's situation has not improved, although it remains better situated than the state overall.
At 12.9% (not seasonally adjusted), Johnston has among the highest unemployment rates in Rhode Island. Like some other cities and towns, however, Much of the employment gap results from the presence of additional people in the workforce.
Ian Donnis has looked into RI's negotiations for its share of prospective casino revenue, and pulling all the data together suggests that table games may only mean $9 million per year to the state government.
In some circles, local ties to ALEC have been hot news this week, but Justin isn't sure that the complaint against the group is really what it's being articulated
In a comparison that plays out in other competing communities in RI, Foster and Glocester exhibit an interesting dynamic. Foster has significantly higher unemployment, but its number of employed residents is up, while Glocester's is down. The difference is the number of people who want to work.
The Providence Journal publishes an entire article about him without letting on that John Edwards is a Democrat, much less that he was almost vice president on that party's ticket.
Liveblogging from the Senate floor session and House Finance.
S2680, from Sen. Walaska, appears to open the door for the PUC to act as a police force. Senate Judiciary hears the bill, today.
Not seasonally adjusted, East Providence's unemployment rate of 12.8% is well above the state's average. With its total employment near a record low and its labor force nearly there, as well, it's even more concerning that unemployed residents remain near the high.
Pension actuaries use the word "liability" differently than the layman would. The total actuarial accrued liability of Providence's pension system has been given as $1.3 billion, with about $0.4 billion in assets, but the liability as most people would probably conceive of it is more likely $5.7 billion, with the same $0.4 billion saved up to date.
In terms of employment change from 2000 to 2010, Portsmouth is pretty much the typical RI town. The town weathered the recession well, until 2010, and its seasonal swings create an interesting comparison with the rest of Aquidneck Island.
The House Finance committee hears a variety of tax proposals, mainly concentrating on taxing "the rich"; Justin writes live.
Cumberland is somewhat unique in Rhode Island, in that from 2000 to 2010 it gained employment. Still, its labor force grew more quickly, so its unemployment is still high, and all numbers are down from their boom-time peak.
Inflated assumptions for pension system rates of return mean that the budget that Providence Mayor Angel Taveras unveiled this evening (and all current RI budgets) amounts to an accounting trick to disguise future tax increases and pension cuts.
Cranston's unemployment rate is below that of RI overall. Most interesting, though, is how trends in employment compare with those in Warwick, for very different results.
RI's income tax reform affected taxpayers with little income beyond what they pay for medical care. As the state seeks to fill in the gap for low-income Medicaid recipients, the gravity of government complexity grows.
The not-seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate for Central Falls was 15.6% in March and would be much higher if the same percentage of the population were in the labor force as in other RI cities and towns.
Burrillville's unemployment rate equals the statewide average of 11.8% mainly because the town's employment has not matched its growing labor force. Consequently, unemployment is near the town's all-time high.
A weekly roundup of Ocean State Current articles and posts.
Is it the bull or the bear for Rhode Island? Justin suggests that if Rhode Island is to cease to be a drag on its region, the model has to be quite different.
A consulting group under contract with two of RI's most-struggling cities is sufficiently confident in its turnaround estimates to proclaim a specific dollar amount; Justin suggests they just go ahead and find the money.
RI's accelerated decline in labor force and employment continues and now constitutes a full-quarter trend; combined with poor housing market results, the trend ought to be of great concern to Rhode Islanders, especially in their capacity as voters.
Tiverton's employment trend is characterized by ten-year growth in population and labor force that wasn't matched by employment. In recent months, improvement in unemployment results only from a fast-falling overall labor force.
Tedious though it may be, PolitiFact RI's recent abortion ruling ought to be addressed.
Correlation is not causation, but Alabama's employment picture has improved in the wake of its stringent immigration law.
The Current's full "Video on the Go" from Congressman Ron Paul's campaign appearance at the University of Rhode Island.
The process for selecting charter review commissioners in Central Falls has Justin concerned that an important lesson in self-governance is being missed.
Newport joins its neighbor, Middletown, in having very high unemployment, as well as a dramatic downward trend in its population and employment data.
Justin writes live from Ron Paul's town hall event at URI.
Reviewing William Raveis data for single-family home sales in each Rhode Island community, Justin finds that the picture isn't rosy.
Middletown's February unemployment is high compared with the rest of the state, at 13.4%, and January's was the highest in 22 years of data. More concerning is that those numbers were achieved even as the total labor force shrank.
Operating in RI government is like following directions based on where things used to be; Justin says outsiders are disadvantaged and vulnerable.
RI's unions are behind efforts to increase state revenue through gambling and "taxes on the rich" in an apparent effort to counter the effects of Massachusetts casinos, but the state will have to decide whether the consequences are worth the attempt.
Although Little Compton is among Rhode Island's wealthiest communities, the town has seen an above-average drop in employment and its unemployment rate is higher than the state's overall number.
Justin writes live from Don Watkins talk to the Brown Republicans on entitlements.
An interview with Charles Murray leads Justin to muse on the possibility that avoiding judgmentalism in the name of tolerance might just make it less likely that others will have the opportunity to judge us good and worthy of advancement.
According to RI Dept. of Labor and Training statistics, the number of employed residents in Jamestown fell 7.6% from 2000 to 2010. The town's number of employed residents has almost returned to its level before the new bridge to the mainland eased travel to the island in 1992.
Former district 1 congressman Patrick Kennedy tells the New York Times that big donations from special interests is how the business of politics works, with implications for local campaign finance initiatives.
A weekly round-up of Ocean State Current posts.
West Warwick leads Kent County in unemployment, in part because its total labor force grew 4.1% at the same time that the total number of residents working or looking for work (its labor force) increased 4.9%.
West Greenwich's employment data (while of limited confidence, given the small population) tells a story of consistent growth, until the current recession moved its unemployment rate above that of the state overall.
Couples who are engaged when they move in together are more likely to stay married than those who are not, but interesting gender differences in the survey data suggest that it matters whether one spouse has been married before.
Argumentation about the concept of "legislation last" when it comes to municipal pension reform appears to be an example of two sides talking past each other.
Warwick's employment story appears to be one of lost population and lost employment. As with some of RI's other cities and towns, Warwick's number of employed residents has never been lower in the twenty-two years of data.
Justin writes live and extemporaneously from the Senate Finance Committee hearing on Gov. Chafee's municipal relief package of legislation.
A pair of articles point to the use of statistics in public policy debates, and Justin encourages everybody not to lose sight of the points being made.
Given its reputation among Rhode Island towns, it's surprising that East Greenwich has a higher-than-average unemployment rate. The explanation likely lies in the growth of its population and labor force, which exacerbated the smaller decrease in employed residents.
Justin writes live from Mitt Romney's town hall in Warwick, Rhode Island.
Matt Allen's petition for repeal of the primary-offense seat belt law leads Justin to consider the real consequence of such legislation.
Reviewing the unemployment picture for RI cities and towns, the Current finds that Coventry's exploding unemployment rate can be explained by increases in population and labor force rather than a decrease in the overall number of residents who are employed.
At this morning's workshop, Treasurer Raimondo's news that the state pension has only been earning 2.28% return on its investments jarred disconcertingly against the actuary's projections of what 7.5% and 5.0% returns mean for the future.
Justin writes live from General Treasurer Gina Raimondo's second comprehensive pension reform workshop for municipal leaders, Part II: Creating a Secure & Sustainable Pension Plan.
Reviewing the unemployment picture for RI cities and towns, the Current finds that Bristol has actually been gaining population and workers, over the past decade, but they're finding jobs in insufficient numbers. And the circumstances for Warren appear dismal from every angle.
Objections that low state contributions to public institutions of higher education should mean low authority over their operational activities raise the question of what the relationship between the schools and the state actually is.
Reason's Matt Welch measures cutting-edge media against legacy media worries about the death of their industry, and reviewing the local playing field, Justin gives an example of how public policy can give them a cudgel (even inadvertently).
Reviewing the unemployment picture for RI cities and towns, the Current finds that Barrington lost 3% of its population from 2000 to 2010 and almost 7% of its employment. Meanwhile, in the quarter leading up to February, 1% of all residents left the town's work force.
A weekly roundup of Ocean State Current posts.
National Review has (for good reason) cut ties with John Derbyshire. It's a shame, though, that a man in the throes of cancer treatment fell in this way.
Colleen Conley finds a metaphor for D.C. in the Hunger Games; Justin hopes it indicates a shift in political understanding.
Three incidents of public-school censorship lead Justin to conclude that "offense" is trumping a heritage that fostered social health and progress.
Governor Chafee's legislative package for municipal relief includes a bill, S2823, that would expand and deepen the Dept. of Education's authority over school budgets, including general oversight of municipal budgets, as well.
Justin points out the interesting contrast of two opinion pieces in Tuesday's Projo, one an unsigned editorial and the other a column by Ed Achorn.
Justin writes live from the House Committee on Environment and Natural Resources hearing, including (for one thing) creation of a new public consortium with powers of eminent domain.
Justin wonders why the concern of left-wing commentator Robert Reich that state-run gambling is a regressive tax receives no voice in Rhode Island.
Sen. President Teresa Paiva Weed and Sen. Majority Leader Dominick Ruggerio have issued releases insisting that we move on from the latter's DUI and its aftermath. GA candidate Keith Anderson, victim of a drunk driver's poor judgment, expresses disappointment.
Justin writes live from the Senate Committee on Special Legislation, with particular interest in casino-related legislation submitted on behalf of the attorney general.
Democrats in Congress are looking to slow the expanding cost of financing college while people are beginning to notice the questionable priorities of the institutions that ultimately collect their money. Justin suggests that it would be better to rethink the entire system.
Updated "budget to actual" numbers show that the extra state revenue once heralded as a sign of economic recovery continues to fade.
Justin reacts to Sen. President Paiva Weed's latest Ruggerio statement with an explanation of the end-all-be-all of political consequences, which don't exist in Rhode Island.
"On the go" video from the Central Coventry Fire District special meeting on 04/02/12.
A bill originating in the attorney general's office transfers all authority over casino gambling in RI to the Division of Lotteries and omits "conflict of interest" rules for its employees.
Justin expresses concerns that a windfall forfeiture from Google to government agencies is further evidence of dangerous incentives for an entity that has the authority to tax, regulate, imprison, and kill.
Justin writes live from a contentious Central Coventry Fire District annual meeting in Coventry.
Rep. Joseph Trillo supports a casino ballot question, but he has submitted legislation for a broader study of ways to increase RI's gambling revenue, possibly including a casino on Allens Ave. in Providence.
From digital cameras to cancer treatments, the supply chain is not immune to disruption, and the drive to build the perfect system cannot rely on an assumption that the status quo will hold.
Observing some points in the national education debate, Justin suggests a shift in how we align funding with measures of success.
This week's list of last week's Current content.