1. Separation of Powers and Line Item Veto
Rhode Island’s existing form of government has economic consequences.
Enemy #1 for us is the General Fund. Once a major source of funds
ends up there, the legislature can propose uses for that money and
even staff boards that determine how the money will ultimately be
spent. Objections by our Governor are sometimes too easily swept
aside. The line item veto would allow the Governor to question
specific items he (or she) finds objectionable, greatly raising the
level of economic debate here.
2. Term Limits for the Legislature
Along With Four Year Terms
In fairness to our legislators, they should be allowed to have a
longer elective time frame which could insulate them from the
possibility of losing elections after making difficult but valid
long-term decisions that have adverse short-term consequences. Limit
legislators to a maximum of two four-year terms with restricted access
to existing legislators should they become lobbyists after leaving
3. Conduct an Objective Examination of
Both the Strengths and Weaknesses of Our Business Climate
To reinvent our state’s economy, it is imperative that we accurately
and honestly determine how good (or bad) this state is as a place to
do business. I suggest that this be done by two separate nationally
recognized companies so that we can compare and contrast their
4. Define Rhode Island’s Dominant
Economic Niche in the Information Age
Since we became an Information-based economy in late 1987, we have
never defined a dominant niche that builds on our strengths and
minimizes our weaknesses. Time is running out for us to do this. If we
conduct the critical examination outlined in #3 above, we can build on
this as we plan for the future. Since we continue to have an
over-concentration of resources in slow growth industries, we must
move toward more rapid growth opportunities that will flourish in the
5. Given #3 and #4, Totally Overhaul
Our Tax and Cost Structures To Be Consistent with Our Desired Niche.
This will take time and a great deal of effort, but it is essential. I
have been saying this for years. The fact that our tax and cost
structure is not conducive to rapid growth was recently affirmed by
executives from both Raytheon and GTECH.
I believe that Rhode Island can have a very
bright economic future. But first, some of my wishes have to come
true. Happy new year!