As promised by House Minority Leader Brian Newberry, the six-member House GOP caucus is moving ahead with a 16-point plan, dubbed "Getting to 25," intended to improve Rhode Island's economy.
“It’s far more comfortable to look at the bright side, but we have been whistling past the cemetery for years," Newberry says in a statement. "The fact is we have the nation’s worst unemployment, the 49th-ranked business environment, the 46th worst tax climate, and the 42nd worst per capita tax burden. The list goes on. It is getting harder and harder to deny the deep hole Rhode Island is in, and we need to take aggressive steps to get ourselves out. There is no silver bullet, and no magic solution waiting in the wings. Action is need on a lot of little things that collectively work to keep up from moving forward."
The rolling out of the initiative is short on details; in an interview broadcast last weekend on ABC6's On the Record with Buddy Cianci, Newberry said the GOP wants to maximize media attention for the plan by releasing the elements over time.
Yet the "Getting to 25" effort starts with two proposals: subjecting all bills to a fiscal evaluation before it gets a committee hearing, and exempting Social Security income from the state income tax.
According to the House GOP statement, "In development since summer, the planned legislative package focuses on improving taxpayer protection, stimulating job growth and economic development, and putting in place smarter approaches to state spending. A fourth goal, characterized as ‘Stop Digging,’ aims to reform government practices that work against job growth and deprive the state of needed infrastructure investment."
The Democratic leadership of the Rhode Island Senate last year launched its own effort, called "Moving the Needle," to improve the economy.