As new data on student achievement and the effects of COVID-19 continue to come into focus, RIPEC brings you an update on public policy developments in the Ocean State.
RIPEC on Public Policy
- Thank you to those who supported and attended RIPEC’s Annual Meeting on October 24th. RIPEC was pleased to mark the organization’s 90th anniversary, as well as the return of the in-person event for the first time since 2019. The Meeting was highlighted by Governor Daniel J. McKee, Senate President Dominick Ruggerio, and House Speaker Joseph Shekarchi, who provided remarks on their policy priorities, and keynote speaker Ron Brownstein, who offered analysis and answered questions from attendees about today’s political climate and the upcoming midterm elections. RIPEC was pleased to honor the recipients (pictured below) of our Public Service Awards: Gerald Williams, Director of the Talent Development Program at URI, and Patricia Sunderland, Finance Director for the Town of East Greenwich. Photos from the event and testimonials honoring Williams and Sunderland can be found on RIPEC’s website.
- RIPEC published the Key Performance Indicators Quarterly Briefing for the third quarter of 2022 in partnership with Bryant University’s Center for Global and Regional Economic Studies. The data show that Rhode Island’s economy remains on a positive trajectory, although growth in both Rhode Island-based jobs and employed residents slowed compared to previous quarters.
- The Boston Globe, “R.I. seeing ‘historically low unemployment’ but not growing jobs, RIPEC report finds”
- Providence Business News, “Report: R.I. economy shows improvement amid slower employment growth in Q3”
- GoLocalProv, “RI’s Economy Continues to Improve, But Employment Growth Slows in Q3, Says RIPEC”
- Cranston Herald, “RI economy continues to improve, but employment growth slows in Q3”
- As Rhode Island voters go to the polls, they will be asked to approve $400 million in state borrowing spread across three proposals which would provide for improvements to the University of Rhode Island’s Bay Campus, K-12 school construction upgrades, and investments in the green economy. RIPEC President and CEO Michael DiBiase told Providence Business News that borrowing “remains an accepted method of financing long-term projects” and added that, despite rising interest rates, “borrowing levels are well within acceptable levels.”
- Recently released results from the National Assessment of Educational Progress show that more than a decade of gains in student proficiency in Rhode Island were effectively wiped out since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. RIPEC recently published a road map for education reform in Rhode Island which offers actionable recommendations for improving student outcomes and reducing the state’s stark achievement gaps among student subgroups and districts.
- After reaching a high of 37th in 2019, Rhode Island has reentered the bottom 10 states on the Tax Foundation’s recently released Business Tax Climate Index for 2023 (ranked 42nd) for the first time since 2015. As in previous years, look out for a RIPEC policy brief analyzing Rhode Island’s ranking.
- New estimates from the Pew Charitable Trusts project that Rhode Island could fund its FY 2022 spending using current rainy day fund savings for only 20.3 days, which ranks last in New England and in the bottom ten nationally (43rd highest). In comparison, the 50-state median is 42.5 days. In its recent report on the enacted FY 2023 state budget, RIPEC recommended that the state consider increasing its rainy day fund.
What to Look for in November
- Rhode Island school and district report cards will be released in November. Report cards will contain crucial student outcome data including results from the 2021-2022 Rhode Island Comprehensive Assessment System (RICAS) standardized test and rates of chronic student absenteeism for the 2021-2022 school year.