December 13, 2012

Forbes: RI = 49th "Best" State for Business

Marc Comtois

Dog bites man, I know, but national publications constantly touting how bad this state is does have an effect. That being said, if recent election results are any indication, Rhode Islanders--well, at least those who stick around--just don't really care.

Rhode Island ranks No. 49 this year, down one spot from 2011. Rhode Island has experienced the second worst net migration, after Michigan, over the past five years. Residents are leaving in search of jobs, as the recent unemployment rate of 10.4% is the second highest in the U.S. after Nevada.

Another drawback is a lousy regulatory climate. “Rhode Island has one of the worst records on labor market freedom and health insurance regulations,” says William Ruger, who co-authored the Mercatus Center’s Freedom in the 50 States study, which we incorporated into our state ranking. Rhode Island had the fifth worst regulatory environment in the Mercatus study, which looks at labor regulations, health-insurance coverage mandates, occupational licensing, the tort system, right-to-work laws and more.

Rhode Island took a public beating this year when former Boston Red Sox pitching legend Curt Schilling laid off the 300 Rhode Island employees of his video game company, 38 Studios, and the company filed for bankruptcy. Rhode Island’s economic development agency provided Schilling’s company with a $75 million loan guarantee to entice 38 Studios to move to Rhode Island from Massachusetts two years earlier. The loan was made with the idea of Rhode Island reaping jobs and tax income from the move. The economic development agency sued Schilling and several of its former members last month, but it is not expected to recoup much of the loan.

Hey, we have the Bay! And we're not the worst state in New England, that's Maine! Yay us.

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Was this study approved by the Center for American Progress? I'm sorry, but I exclusively consider rankings conducted by progressive organizations based on subjective factors like "quality of life."

Posted by: Dan at December 13, 2012 9:36 AM

Rhode Island is ranked one of the top 10 states in the nation for healthy life styles according to the annual United Health Foundation study.

Posted by: KenW at December 13, 2012 3:36 PM

This is starting to feel like Groundhog Day.

Posted by: Monique at December 13, 2012 7:32 PM

This is starting to feel like Groundhog Day. - Monique

This may be the Groundhog state. What percentage of the voters will give 5 seconds consideration to this?

Posted by: Warrington Faust at December 13, 2012 9:50 PM

There was a time in the distant past when Rhode Islanders would rally together. Just like any true community. The test comes when the chips are down and things look pretty bad. We have been in worse places. Maybe some of you should reconsider your remarks and think a little more about what you can do.

Posted by: David S at December 14, 2012 7:01 PM


Are you suggesting we tar and feather the GA and run them out of town on a rail as in the good old days? Or did you have other thoughts you neglected to get off your high horse to share?

Posted by: Mike at December 15, 2012 7:46 AM


Coming together is great advice for Washington where there is a distribution of power but here in Rhode Island, we don't have that power dynamic. We have one party rule in the GA and a Governor who is in complete denial. Any suggestions?

Posted by: Max D at December 15, 2012 9:01 AM

This may be the Groundhog state. What percentage of the voters will give 5 seconds consideration to this?
Posted by Warrington Faust at December 13, 2012 9:50 PM

Zero point zero.

Posted by: Tommy Cranston at December 15, 2012 1:20 PM
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