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Newsflash: You may be a second class citizen

The Providence Journal reported late last week that a group of mayors and town administrators, led by Cumberland Mayor Daniel J. McKee, announced yesterday the launch of plans for a novel kind of public charter school. The mayors hope their proposed Rhode Island Mayoral Academies, free from many of the rules and restrictions of regular public schools, will spread through the state as a new educational model. Unlike the state’s existing 11 charter schools, mayoral academies would not have to pay teachers a prevailing wage, contribute to the state teachers retirement system or offer teachers tenure protection. These freedoms would allow the academies greater control over school budgets, culture and personnel, and enable them to attract — and pay for […]

Long blog on biotech gift ban

Good public policy is built on two pillars – and they pretty much boil down to common sense: Be fair and first do no harm. Giving preferential treatment to individual businesses or industries is bad public policy. The Governor and Legislature’s $250 million tax giveaway to the life sciences industry (even as they increased taxes and fees on other sectors by $300 million last year alone) isn’t fair. And it’s particularly unjustifiable as we enter a protracted economic downturn – a downturn that has already caused hundreds of millions of dollars in social service cuts. But it’s hard to comprehend the logic behind it, when we throw money at life sciences companies with one hand, and take it away with […]

Another Predictable Ideologue for Charter Schools

“Provided this greater accountability, I call on states to reform their charter rules, and lift caps on the number of allowable charter schools, wherever such caps are in place.” Can you guess who it is? Yes we can. Oh, and for those who will fixate on the first clause, take a look at this 2003 report on charters by the Fordham Institute.

The Herald's multiple personalities

The Herald ended an editorial this morning on the Administration’s approach to the growing debate over the proposed gas tax increase as follows: It’s about this administration’s arrogance, its sense of entitlement to a larger share of your earnings in a time of crisis, and its dismissal of any approach that doesn’t mirror its own. They’re right. To dismiss opposition to a gas tax increase out of hand is arrogant. And that is exactly what Jim Aloisi is doing. Yet, yesterday, the Herald had no problem dismissing opposition to an elected Boston School Committee out of hand. Defending an appointed School Committee, which City Councilor and mayoral candidate Sam Yoon has criticized, the Herald noted: Well maybe Yoon questions it, […]

Not terribly helpful to the 19, 25, and 29 cent gas tax supporters

Obama Administration Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood opines on a recent federal commission’s call to raise the federal gas tax by 10 cents: With the economy the way it is right now, trying to propose a 10-cent a gallon increase in the gasoline tax is not going to fly anywhere in America, including Washington, D.C…Ten cents a gallon increase is not modest, it’s impossible…We are in one of the worst economies we’ve been in since 1982. I was a staffer on Capitol Hill in 1982 and I know how bad it was because I was working for a guy who was representing Caterpillar and things were bad. We’ve got to be talking differently than raising taxes.