November 22, 2010

A Mission to Figure Out What's Happening

Community Crier

A few years ago, the common wisdom on the right was that Rhode Island was driving out wealthy people with its tax and spend policies, and the response from the left was to come up with other reasons that wealthy people might leave. In February 2008, Anchor Rising changed the terms of the debate. To be sure, our findings showed a net loss of taxable resident income:

But the people leaving weren't the wealthy. Rather, Rhode Island has been driving out motivated upward-movers — those seeking to advance and improve their situations. Those who do the most work to drive an economy forward.

We honed in on the point revisiting the data the following year:

And now the common wisdom is that Rhode Island's population loss is a matter of absent opportunity — although those in the State House apparently didn't get the message, as shown by their shifting of the tax code to place more burden upon the demographic that's been leaving and to end high-end tax breaks (flat tax and capital gains tax) that had clearly been working. On the latter count, it's a shame that Anchor Rising's reach isn't broader, because we also found that tax revenue had actually gone up among the wealthy after the tax breaks had been passed:

With that, we arrive at the point of this pitch: Anchor Rising has been very effective at affecting the public debate in Rhode Island, even if we've remained somewhat hidden behind the faces of those whose minds we've changed. Imagine what we could do if we were able to do more research and spend more time pushing it out into the public awareness. By the 2012 election, we might even manage to explain to a critical mass of voters what's been going wrong and what needs to be done to fix it.

Please email or call (401-835-7156) Justin to pledge financial support — as subscriptions, donations, or advertising — for 2011. We're still a long, long way away from being able to fund a full-time job, and the beauty of pledging is that we won't ask for the money unless we actually achieve that goal. (Note, too, that we're not non-profit, so while you'll get no tax break for your contribution, you also won't end up on any publicly filed list.)