Report: R.I. failing, near-failing in 41 of 52 economic measures

PROVIDENCE – The Rhode Island Center for Freedom & Prosperity on Thursday released its 2014 Report Card on Rhode Island Competitiveness, in which the Ocean State scored a “D” or “F” in nearly 80 percent of the measures analyzed to evaluate the state’s regional and natural economic competitiveness.
Rhode Island is failing or near-failing in all 10 major categories examined in the report, including tax burden, business climate, spending and debt, employment and income, education, energy, infrastructure, public sector, health care and standard of living.
The state’s worst grades were in infrastructure and standard of living, which both received an “F” in the center’s report. Rhode Island ranked No. 50 in the country in the subcategories of general infrastructure and bridge deficiency, and ranked No. 49 for highway cost effectiveness.
The 2014 report card does not take into account legislation passed during the recently adjourned General Assembly session.
“Year after year we hear talk about positive legislative steps, yet our state’s failing grades have somehow worsened in relation to other states… This is stagnation at best,” said Mike Stenhouse, CEO of the Center for Freedom & Prosperity, in a release. “Imagine your child coming home with a report card with 80 percent of the grades at ‘D’ or ‘F.’ It’s time for a parent-teacher conference.”
Other exceptionally poor grades in the report included No. 50 rankings for business climate, income redistribution, unemployment rate and number of health insurance mandates, and rankings in the bottom five nationwide for business tax climate, economic freedom index, cost of electricity, government compensation compared with the private sector, natural population growth and the estate tax exemption.
The fiscal 2015 budget signed into law last month raised the exemption cutoff for estate tax payments from $921,655 to $1.5 million, and eliminated the “cliff” after which estates above the threshold were charged tax on their entire value as opposed to just on the amount above the threshold.
Rhode Island ranked last in New England for 20 of the 52 subcategories, and scored a grade of “D” or “F” for 41 of the 52 subcategories. The only two subcategories for which Rhode Island scored an “A” or “B” were number of public workers per 100 private sector workers, which scored an “A-” and parent power in the education system, which scored a “B+” in the report.
The Ocean State ranked among the top 20 states nationwide for long-term competitiveness (No. 17), median household income (No. 15), labor force participation rate (No. 16), parent power (No. 20) and public workers per 100 private sector workers (No. 4).
To view the complete report, visit

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  1. The state is still taxing at 2% all gross receipts on radiology. Despite about 3 radiology sites closing a year (Lincoln RI just lost another, this year)good paying jobs lost.

    This tax is on outpatient radiology sites. The ones that pay ALL taxes. Hospitals which are exempt, do not pay the 2% tax.

    Continuing anti-small business taxes contribute to the closings and loss of jobs. Yet, the Corporate tax dropped two percentage points?