Progress Report: Helping Homeless Good for Taxpayers, Protect Block Island from Projo, Bain Debate Comes to RI

Mohegan Bluffs Block Island (Photo by Bob Plain)

It’s actually cheaper for the taxpayer to take care of our least fortunate residents than to let them live in squalor on the streets. A new study from Providence College professor Eric Hirsch shows that the state spends upwards of $60 million a year providing medical services to homeless people and that the state could save millions annually by offering housing to even just 67 of these people. That’s right, if we provided housing to just 67 homeless people the state would save millions of dollars.

It’s actually some pretty basic logic: if you invest in something it will generally take less overall resources to take care of.

But don’t expect such economic logic from the Projo editorial board … instead, today the tackle the (much less) important issue of making it easier for the affluent to fly to Block Island. They write: “Until now, most Rhode Islanders eager to partake of Block Island bliss have had to drive to the ferry terminal at Galilee and, all too often, tried to dodge seasickness, and the occasional inebriate, aboard the ferry.”

Stop the presses. Rhode Islanders have to endure seasickness to get to an island. What a crisis.

They go on to write, “We suspect that those who fly to Block Island will be considerably less overtly colorful than those on the Block Island Ferry. Indeed, that’s one reason the proposal for service to Block Island from Green sounds so appealing to some folks, especially to the affluent who can afford it … even if leveraged-buyout specialists planning to build gigantic summer houses might rival people behaving badly on the ferry as threats to Block Island’s allure.”

In other words, making it easier will likely destroy Block Island’s natural beauty, but that’s worth it if rich folk don’t have to deal with the rest of society when they are making their way out to the island they are destroying. Perhaps we should also invest in special highways for the affluent so they don’t have to see colorful jalopies some of the rest of us drive…

I’d like to invite the Projo editorial writers vacation on Martha’s Vineyard, or perhaps Kennebunkport. Vail and Aspen are lovely, too, as is Malibu. These places are already designed for your pretty snobby logic. But, please, as a former Islander (my first job in journalism was with the Block Island Times) please do not come to the Block. It’s one of the “last great places” and some of us would like it to stay that way.

The number of jobs in Rhode Island continues to decline …. how could this be after we slashes income tax rates for the so-called job creator class??? Oh wait, I forgot … people don’t create jobs just because they have extra money in their pocket, they only do so when they think hiring can make them more money.

The Bain outsourcing debate comes to Rhode Island!! It seems Brendan Doherty doesn’t think politicians should criticize those who give them money … I actually think this is something we should encourage.

I’m completely confused by why WPRI is trying to smear Congressman David Cicilline for supporting Capco Steel, the second (at least?) company to default on an EDC loan. The story says he helped the company secure state and federal funding. Cicilline started a jobs program for low-income residents that Capco took advantage of. It’s unclear from the story how he helped secure state dollars.

Speaking of strange reporting, GoLocal dubs Barry Hinckley as being “hot” because he held a press conference this week. Meanwhile, he raised half as much in donations this quarter than he did last quarter and his campaign is becoming increasingly dependent on personal loans from the candidate. But he held a press conference.

Someone should make a GoLocal-to-journalism dictionary. Exclusive = bi-lined story; top secret = found on the internet, etc…

Good news for the local Democratic party: Bill Fischer.

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Bob Plain is the editor/publisher of Rhode Island's Future. Previously, he's worked as a reporter for several different news organizations both in Rhode Island and across the country.

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