Providence, RI – Imagine your town no longer on the Rhode Island map.
The populations of 11 Ocean State towns, or over 80,000 residents, have been lost to net out-migration in recent years, a disturbing trend highlighted by the RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity
as part of its 2017 update to the Family Prosperity Index
(FPI), the broadest national measure of overall family well-being.
“Nothing should ring more true or be more telling to lawmakers than how people vote with their feet,” suggested Mike Stenhouse, CEO for the Center. “Our continued poor FPI rankings means that we are driving productive people out of our state. Clearly a new policy approach is warranted … beginning this year. The legislative assault on families and businesses must end.”
In this regard, the Center urges state lawmakers to reject any new taxes, fees, regulations, or mandates during the remainder of the 2017 General Assembly session. The state’s poor FPI rankings – and its related out-migration problem – are the result of progressive-left policies that already burden families and businesses with high taxes and regulations, as
part of a failed budget-centric policy approach.
The state’s major out-migration problem was highlighted in the Center’s original 2016 Rhode Island Family Prosperity Index report, where the Ocean State ranked a dismal 48th among all states. In the updated 2017 FPI , while Rhode Island improved to 45th nationally, up three spots from 2016, the state suffers from a bottom-third ranking in five of six major categories and 16 of 30 secondary categories. The state ranked in the top-third in just six of these 30 categories. The Ocean State is also saddled with the worst business climate in the nation.
The net migration loss of the 11 towns’ worth of people since 2004 – Scituate, Warren, Glocester, Hopkinton, Charlestown, Richmond, Exeter, West Greenwich, Jamestown, Foster, and Little Compton – is part of a larger trend where about 800,000 people emigrated out of the Ocean State since 1995, while fewer than 700,000 migrated in.
, an engineer by trade and highlighted by the Center, was one person whose family left Rhode Island for greener pastures in another state.
RI Families Coalition.
A positive outgrowth of the Center’s FPI focus has been the formation of the RI Families Coalition –
a group of civil society leaders from the left and the right pledged to work together to identify common areas of concern and to advance policy solutions of mutual agreement that directly benefit Ocean State families. Led by liberal Ray Rickman
and conservative Stenhouse, the coalition has publicly endorsed a package of justice reinvestment legislative that subsequently passed the Senate and a hair-braider freedom bill that later passed the House. The coalition’s steering committee also includes Johanna Harris
from the left and Gary Sasse
from the right. More information on the coalition, as well as an option to join, can be found at RIFamilies.org