NEW: Block to Fox: Spare Us Lectures on Reform
Thursday, May 09, 2013
Statement from Ken Block:
"As Rhode Island's economic development efforts continue to sputter along, is it really necessary for Speaker Gordon Fox to be lecturing Rhode Island citizens about what the people of our state want? On the front page of today's Providence Journal, a story on the battle between the Governor and the Speaker of the House over an Economic Development Corporation reorganization proposal reads "Fox says public demands reform of bureaucracy", referring to the Economic Development Council.
This is the same Speaker who was one of the architects of the disastrous 38 Studios deal. This is the same Speaker who has thwarted the public will by killing ethics reform legislation. And this is the same Speaker who is ignoring the voices of thousands of Rhode Island citizens who demand the elimination of the Master Lever from the Rhode Island ballot.
With that track record, Gordon Fox is the last person who should be talking about what the people want. He has no moral authority on the topic when he has so often expressed a callous disregard for the will of the people and public interest.
The Speaker is sniping at the Governor for failing to fully support the House plan to reorganize the troubled Economic Development Corporation (EDC). In doing so, he has called the House bill a "discussion starter".
Here's the problem, Mr. Speaker. The bill may be a discussion starter, but we've seen the way those discussions often end on your watch...with a surprise bill, passed in the middle of the night at the end of the session with little or no public input. That's what happened with 38 Studios, a last-minute $75 million giveaway to a company that crashed and burned, leaving our state with lost taxpayer money and lost opportunities to help real businesses which had a track record of creating real jobs.
It is time to sit down and listen to business leaders and economic experts who don't just talk a good game on economic development, but actually have real-world experience in making it happen. Rhode Island cannot afford to continue to rearrange deck chairs on a sinking ship. While a well-functioning Economic Development Council is necessary, it is far more important to address the issues that cause Rhode Island to underperform our regional neighbors.
Rhode Island citizens demand that our elected leaders take solid actions to improve our economy in substantively meaningful ways, because we can say with certainty that the one thing people don't want is more political posturing and turf battles. It is not enough to move deck chairs when the bilge is filling with water."
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