Wednesday, January 31, 2007

The State of the State

While I continue to pore through source material about the history of Rhode Island's border disputes, Governor Donald Carcieri has made his annual State of the State address to the Rhode Island General Assembly. The Governor's mood was upbeat, and his outlook was positive, but he challenged the state legislature to do more, especially when it comes to controlling the skyrocketing cost of benefits for state workers, state entitlement programs, and fixing the state's dismal urban school districts.

Our Republican Governor also touched on something that our overwhelmingly Democratic state legislature doesn't want to hear, namely, how reducing Rhode Island's tax burden has created an upswing in the state's finances, and challenged the Legislature to reduce spending and balance the budget to keep our economic climate friendly to business growth and create an environment for attracting more jobs to the Ocean State.

Somewhat suprisingly, the Governor touched on environmental issues a number of times, setting a goal for 20% of Rhode Island's energy needs to come from renewable sources by 2011 (good luck with that, Don) and proposing an $85,000,000 bond issue to continue to cleanup of Narragansett Bay. A Governor getting touchy feely about mother earth? Sure, especially when it's good business (tourism is our second leading industry, after all).

Lastly, the Governor threw down the gauntlet on Rhode Island's troubled urban school districts, demanding financial discipline and laying down the gauntlet on English immersion versus bilingual education, saying:
"For nearly all of us, our fathers, grandfathers or great grandfathers came to Rhode Island as immigrants. But they came here legally - seeking work and a better life. And they became citizens! They learned English! That's the way it should be!"
I can dig it, Governor. Here's looking forward to a prosperous, and successful, 2007.

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