May 14, 2012

The Current Week 05/04/12 - 05/11/12

Justin Katz


Medicaid Waiver Reform Saved Tens of Millions, Although ObamaCare/ARRA Curtailed Savings - Investigative Report
Despite some local journalists' reports, RI's Medicaid Global Waiver reform has saved $55.2 million within the first year and a half of implementation, and would have saved more but for ObamaCare and federal stimulus legislation.

05/08/12 - Tiverton School Committee Meeting - Liveblog
Justin liveblogs from a Tiverton School Committee that promises controversy over tactics used while advocating for particular budgets.

Rhode Island, nos trata a todos como extraños - Opinion
Al igual que un conductor que no sabe donde los edifi cios que solían ser, los que no conocen los canales secretos del gobierno de RI tienen tres opciones

Justin's Case

State in Decline, Employment in RI Cities and Towns: Smithfield - Research
Smithfield's unemployment rate has improved a little since 2010, but the reason is that its labor force has fallen off while its number of employed residents has mostly stagnated.
Transportation Infrastructure: Making a High Priority Low - Opinion
Local transportation funding is vulnerable to federal vicissitudes because it is entirely federal dollars build on a bed of local borrowing. That ought to raise questions among voters about the management of the state.
Shrinking Government?  Not Quite. - Analysis
The New York Times' claim that President Obama has shrunk government shrivels under examination.

State in Decline, Employment in RI Cities and Towns: Woonsocket - Research
Woonsocket's number of employed residents has never been lower, in the 22 years of DLT data, and the only thing keeping its unemployment rate steady is the rapid decrease in labor force.
Tax Breaks for the Trendy, Not the Ordinary - Opinion
Tax breaks for artists raise the question of why all Rhode Islanders shouldn't have more control over their own destinies
Various Lifestyle Stories Vaguely Related (Taking Our Treats Away) - Opinion
A jumble of news and commentary headlines leads Justin to wonder where the cause and effect lie in entitlement and nanny-statism.

State in Decline, Employment in RI Cities and Towns: Charlestown - Research
Charlestown's unemployment puts it well above the overall rate for the state and results from more than four years of continual employment declines.
RI 14th Most Licenses for Low/Mod-Income Professionals; 22nd in Overall Burden - Analysis
RI requires licenses for the 14th highest number of lower-income occupations in the U.S., imposing the 22nd greatest overall burden, disproportionately affecting men and minorities, whom the recession has hit hardest.

State in Decline, Employment in RI Cities and Towns: Exeter - Research
Throughout the '90s and most of the last decade, Exeter was on a path of growth, but 2007 brought an end to employment increases, and 2008 lost jobs. Now, the town's unemployment rate is 12.2% (not seasonally adjusted).
A Math Technique Custom Made for Government - Opinion
New methods of math education remind Justin of the math that professionals and politicians are using, even now, to conceptualize pension funds.

State in Decline, Employment in RI Cities and Towns: Hopkinton - Research
Hopkinton grew, in population and economically, over the last decade, but since 2010, employment has stagnated as the labor force recedes.
Clarification on Pension Projections - Investigative Report
The General Treasurer's office clarifies, for the Current, a chart showing a brief period of pension investment returns below expectations.
Kauffman/Thumbtack: RI Small Business Friendliness an F - Analysis
In keeping with past experience, Kauffman/Thumbtack study finds RI to be dead last in the nation for small business friendliness.

Moving Forward, Double Dip or Not - Opinion
The specter of a double-dip recession brings into stark relief, for Justin, the lack of vision among those leading the state.
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Tax Breaks for the Trendy, Not the Ordinary - tax breaks for artists.

Let us think this through. Most artists are what Tom Wolfe called "Bohos" (combination of bohemians and hobos). They are doing what pleases them, not with an outlook at business. Famously, they do not wish to become "comercialized". If they do have a "business head", they become gallery owners.

So, basically, we are giving tax breaks to gallery owners. Admittedly, some filters through to artists. The same could be said of a "Tax break" on tires, some flows through to the workers.

So, the question simply put, is do we wish to subsidize the arts? Is this just a "feel good", or does it make sense? How do we define "art". A friend has one of his hot rods in a museum, will he qulify? Before you dismiss that, "Factory Five" is getting quite a boost from the taxpayers in Masschusetts.

Posted by: Warrington Faust at May 14, 2012 2:18 PM
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