ARLENE VIOLET - Ho, hum. Business as usual

ARLENE VIOLET - Ho, hum. Business as usual

Another state election has come and gone and the status quo remains with the Democratic Party firmly in control of the Statehouse and with a spending bond binge having been approved by the voters. In other words expect nothing to change in our national rankings. As Mike Stenhouse, CEO of the Rhode Island Center for Freedom and Prosperity recently pointed out in an op-ed in the Providence Journal:

“Rhode Island has virtually one of the worst business climates, a near-bottom entrepreneurial endeavors ranking and is 48th on the National Family Prosperity Index;

Educational reforms are backtracking with efforts to remove any objective standard for skills performance as a result of teacher union pressure;

The large structural deficit and interest on debt just took another hit with run-away approval of bonds;

And the same old “economic development” tools of giving handouts to special interests from small families and business will continue unabated since Democrats love corporate welfare.”

I have long been a critic of handouts to corporations whose top management throw money at Democrat leaders’ campaign coffers while these politicians, in turn, throw our money at them. Take CVS as a classic example. In fiscal year 2016 CVS received $21.2 million in state tax credits, up from the $15.4 million awarded it during the Gov. Lincoln Chafee era. These credits are given to enhance employment. Yet CVS laid off 70 workers recently and in early November announced another staff reduction of 250 employees in Rhode Island. Has anyone in the Raimondo Administration balked at the failure of what should have been a quid pro quo, i.e. tax credits to hire people and not fire them? The silence is deafening! At least a “refund” should be due!

It’s bad enough that most jobs that CVS creates are clerk-like jobs at minimum wage with enough working hours shaved off so that the company doesn’t pay health care. Of course, Joe Taxpayer again bails out CVS since these same clerks, no doubt, seek health policies under the Affordable Care Act which taxpayers subsidize. But the real kicker is the fact that CVS has been anything but a model corporate citizen.

Under its former head, Thomas Ryan, CVS was a part of the Rogues Gallery where former R.I. legislators ended up in the hoosegow as a result of doing the bidding of the corporate giant. The former Senate president dodged a bullet when the Ethics Commission was stripped of any jurisdiction over legislative ethical misdeeds. Oversight, fortunately, has just been restored by a referendum.

Just about any regulatory body related to health care has fined CVS. It paid a huge fine for Medicare violations, HIPPA privacy violations, outdated drugs in poor areas like Roxbury, Mass., being a pill-mill in Florida where two of its stores ordered one to two million oxycodone pills a year which is 27 times the national average. This $22 million fine paid as a result of a DEA investigation put those pharmacists out of business.

So, the beat goes on. Who’s to blame for the upcoming business as usual? The voters, of course, who put the same people back into office!

Violet is an attorney and former state attorney general.


Ms. Violet, this is a great article! You are "right on target"!

Yes, the 'voters have put the same people back into office' and many of those individuals will, no doubt, be the first ones to COMPLAIN about future TAX INCREASES, i.e., those who ARE paying taxes.

We are a SANCTUARY STATE and many people, including ILLEGALS, feel ENTITLED to receive everything for FREE---and the STATE is providing it to them. So, this is more of a reason why they vote to keep the same people in office.

This ENTITLEMENT FEELING began eight (8) years ago with President Obama's ideology of SHARING THE WEALTH. Well, the wealth was shared all right and now, the GIMME-GIMMES are OVERPOWERING those who ARE and HAVE "shared their wealth". These same people can't afford it anymore. The one encouraging thing is, however, that President-Elect Trump has stated that he will CUT funds to those SANCTUARY STATES who don't FOLLOW the RULE OF LAW regarding ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION, but that's another topic for the future. The Democratic Party may be "firmly in control of the Statehouse", but the Republican party is totally in control Nationally! It's time to DRAIN THE SWAMPS!

Re: CVS---the information regarding the increase in state tax credits it has received is quite interesting as well as the many violations which are listed in your article! Woonsocket residents have often stated that the possibility of their relocating would be disastrous to this City...and that is so true. Considering the tax credits they are receiving, however, one wonders if they would even think of moving, but of course, anything is possible!

Yes, "so, the beat goes on"!