Check out this op-ed in the Warwick Beacon by Thomas Linehan, the OSPRI fellow for small business affairs. Rhode Island may be a charming city-state, Linehan writes, but unions and state bureaucracies are killing its business climate. As he puts it,
Too little opportunity, high taxes and a civic culture that can demonstrate taste but no appetite for growth dissolve even the strongest bonds of tradition and sentiment. What skills did those who have left possess? How many elected not to come here at all? How many businesses have moved out of state? What do companies looking to move from elsewhere consider?
One thing any business owner or executive would check is the union climate. No sensible person would attempt to create 50 or 100 jobs in a state that appeared to be in thrall to unions when there are dozens of states with lower taxes, more incentives, and elected officials who are not toadying to union bosses, their members’ dues and donated bodies at election time.
According to the invaluable Center for Union Facts (www.unionfacts.com), the 2005 total union membership in RI stood at 52,509, which is roughly 16 percent, or one of every 6, employed persons. The unions representing these employees had receipts of $26,858,515 and spent $25,435,892 a lot of money in a little state.
For more on unions and Rhode Island and unions visit this Center for Union Facts page.