June 29, 2011

Last Again, Naturally

Marc Comtois

CNBC has ranked Rhode Island as the least business-friendly state in the country. #50. Dead last. I know the yabuts will be out, but--to coin a phrase--"perception is reality" and when a business channel reports that your state is the worst, well, what do you think the business people watching that channel are going to come away with? The rankings are here and were derived following this method:

This year’s categories and weightings, for a total of 2,500 points, are:

* Cost of Doing Business (350 points)
* Workforce (350 points)
* Quality of Life (350 points)
* Infrastructure & Transportation (325 points)
* Economy (300 points)
* Education (225 points)
* Technology & Innovation (225 points)
* Business Friendliness (200 points)
* Access to Capital (100 points)
* Cost of Living (50 points)

Rhode Island's best rankings were in the middle of the pack in the categories "Quality of Life" and "Education" (24th), "Workforce" (26th) and "Technology and Innovation" (27th). Two of the four where we showed best were among the highest weighted categories, but that wasn't enough to make up for our abysmal showing in "Cost of Business" (46th), "Business Friendliness" (48th) and "Infrastructure & Transportation" (49th). Do you think giving control of prime real estate in Downtown Providence to an unelected-but-well-connected commission will help the negative perception any?

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So many things to talk about with those rankings. Why doesn't someone in the media sit down with Fox and Paiva-Weed and these rankings and ask specifically what have they done to improve these? Because clearly they spent the previous year making them worse.

Also interestingly, the haven of Hawaii that Ken is always crowing about is ranked 48th.

Time to move to Montana and live in a teepee and sell handmade jewelry to tourists.

Posted by: Patrick at June 29, 2011 9:08 AM

A well deserved honor.
Kudos progressives!

Posted by: Tommy Cranston at June 29, 2011 9:16 AM

Seems like some of the rankings are skewed towards larger states. For instance in Technology & Innovation (a place where RI typically ranks well):

We evaluated the states on their support for innovation, the number of patents issued to their residents, and the deployment of broadband services.

So we have less patents than states 30 times our size? Quick everyone call Paiva Weed!

Or how about Infrastructure & Transportation? Again a metric that penalizes smaller states.

We measured the vitality of each state’s transportation system by the value of goods shipped by air, land and water.

This also in, we have one of the lowest taxes in country based on total tax collected. What fun when we don't have to consider per capita numbers!

Anyway, take this one with a grain of salt.

Posted by: Russ at June 29, 2011 9:18 AM

"Anyway, take this one with a grain of salt."

As you do with all of them. They all come out and say RI has a bad business climate. Have you seen one that says otherwise? Please, show us. Or are they all wrong and RI actually has a great business climate?

Posted by: Patrick at June 29, 2011 9:23 AM

"Rhode Island 16th in State New Economy Index"

Or how about this one? (because of our size I think it makes more sense to compare RI to other metro areas)

"Stahtup Fevah in New England"

Are we the best at everything? No, but at our size we don't need to be.

Posted by: Russ at June 29, 2011 9:31 AM

That's apples and oranges. That whole study is just one aspect of the CNBC rankings. Show me something that shows the business climate in RI isn't terrible. What you showed there is:
>>looks at how states are doing in making the transition into the innovation-based "new economy."<<

Posted by: Patrick at June 29, 2011 9:38 AM

"Show me something that shows the business climate in RI isn't terrible."

OK, here's a few more:
"RI Competitive? Heck, Yeah!"

"RI Among Top 'Biotech Hubs'"

"Providence 'Affordable' City for HQs"

Posted by: Russ at June 29, 2011 10:01 AM

"...but--to coin a phrase--'perception is reality'"

So, Marc, if you truly believe that I should assume that the constant negative posting on this blog about the state's business climate is an intentional effort to run the economy into the ditch?

I posted quite a few positive stories above. I don't think any of those were covered over here. Can't help but wonder why that is.

Posted by: Russ at June 29, 2011 10:09 AM

And there's a lot that's covered here that's not mentioned "over there". Haven't seen too much mention of David Cicilline and his role in Providence's finances or some of the quotes from the Congressional debate. Or when Cicilline told seniors that privatization would take away their Social Security.

There's no mention of lots of things on both sites.

Posted by: Patrick at June 29, 2011 10:31 AM

We may be a "Top 'Biotech Hub", sure but don't try to get paid by the insurers. They keep lowering reimbursement rates and lowering the number of procedures they will pay for. So you may be able to do research here in RI, but don't try to be a provider.

I work for a provider and I'm waiting for the powers-that-be to move us to a more healthcare-provider friendly state... I don't see how they WON'T move us.

Posted by: stuckhereinri at June 29, 2011 10:40 AM

Patrick, you're welcome to create a post on those subjects.

Notably, you're not questioning my premise that this blog is curiously one-sided when it comes to the economy. So you're saying that perception of our business climate should be viewed as a partisan issue like the mud-slinging about Ciciline?

Posted by: Russ at June 29, 2011 10:51 AM

stuckinri, you're welcome to leave but expect that one to be worse elsewhere.


Posted by: Russ at June 29, 2011 10:54 AM

Yep,read the link. I have a few folks in my Billing Dept that might disagree with those rankings however.

Healthcare in general is a very tough/competitive industry, I'll give you that. The fundamental reimbursement rules need to change for things to get significantly better, but that's another (very long) story.

And I'm not saying "pay us more", that's not it, things need to be SANE that's all that's needed and right now they are NOT.

Posted by: stuckhereinri at June 29, 2011 11:02 AM

Au contraire, mon frere.

"Now for some good news: TACO Expands" http://www.anchorrising.com/barnacles/012891.html

"Cultural Economic Potpourri" http://www.anchorrising.com/barnacles/012783.html

Depending on your perspective ;)..."Rhode Island in Top 10 for Public/Private Pay Differential" http://www.anchorrising.com/barnacles/012309.html

"Local Food: Where's the Fish" http://www.anchorrising.com/barnacles/012179.html

Those were over the last four months. If good news catches my eye, I'll post on it (time willing!).

Posted by: Marc at June 29, 2011 11:16 AM


Posted by: Russ at June 29, 2011 1:02 PM

"Are we the best at everything? No..."

But wait, we're # 1 in "Stupid Governors"

Posted by: George at June 29, 2011 4:50 PM

How can this be? Rhode Island is such a "progressive" state. Businesses should be flocking to it like seagulls to a discarded foil of french fries.

The central planners are never wrong. It is the businesses who must be corrected.

Posted by: Dan at June 29, 2011 5:49 PM
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