With statewide elections in just two months, voters must consider whether a turnover in elected officials is necessary to to see a turnover in public policies that may actually improve their families' prosperity.
Ranking just 48th on the Family Prosperity Index (FPI) published earlier this year, the broadest national measure of family well-being, the RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity today published a summary of the state's rankings in dozens of FPI categories along with a set of policy principles that lawmakers are encouraged to consider.
"What if we were to realize that the status quo public policy approach, as well-intended as it may be, in reality, has had the unintended consequence of reducing the overall prosperity of our Rhode Island families," suggested Mike Stenhouse, the Center's CEO."The FPI research clearly demonstrates that cultural, social, and demographic factors must also be considered, in addition to economic factors, when formulating effective public policy."
The Center maintains that a new public policy approach - an approach that considers the whole person, not just his/her material needs - and that takes the best ideas from across the political spectrum - is required to improve the lives of Ocean State families and individual taxpayers.
The two page policy brief provides a color coded summary of the Ocean State's rankings. As part of its 48th place ranking among all states, Rhode Island: ranked in the bottom-third in 5 of the 6 major categories, and 18 of the 30 sub-categories; ranked in the middle-third in 1 of 6 major categories and 8 sub-categories; and ranked in the top-third in zero major categories and just 4 sub-categories. The state's worst rankings are in the major category of Family Demographics, where it rated red in all 5 sub-categories.
To directly address these problems the Center has developed 10 guiding policy principles that candidates should debate this fall and that lawmakers should consider in the 2017 session. "The solution for our families is not about corporate welfare to targeted 'advanced industries,' but rather broad-based policies that enhance opportunity for every family and business," continued Stenhouse.
In this regard, the Center's ten policy principles include ideas from both the right and the left. "A new spirit of across-the-aisle and civic cooperation is required if our state government is to effectively serve its constituents. Additionally, community, religious and business leaders also have a very important role to play as public policy cannot address many of the problems Rhode Island must overcome if our families are to improve their chances of upward mobility," concluded Stenhouse.
According to the Center, the oft cited unemployment rate, where RI has improved to a middle-of-the-pack ranking, is not an adequate measure of family prosperity. In the six major FPI categories, the Ocean State ranks:
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