This year the All-Star break provides a short respite from the day-to-day grind of wondering whether this Red Sox team will ever peek out of the basement of the AL East. We have had short streaks of good games, followed by some so-so games and a few stinkers thrown in between painful losses. We are 6.5 games out of first place and have been bottom dwellers for the first part of the season. The good news is that only one member of the Red Sox will be playing in the All-Star game, so the rest of the team can have some much needed rest for the next few days. Most importantly, some of the team’s best games have been recent ones, so the trend line is good and we can hope for 2nd half comeback.
Is it me or is the trend line improving for Rhode Island as well? Good things seem to be happening and some of the recent statistics I’ve seen show that our economy is FINALLY picking up. Unemployment stands at 5.9% — or 37th in the country. It would be great to be closer to Massachusetts at 4.6%, but hey, we’re beating Connecticut at 6%. I certainly understand that the numbers don’t tell the full story and that some people have stopped looking for work, many have moved away and that some people are making less than they were two years ago, but just eighteen months ago, we were at 9.1% and were the highest in the nation, so I am just glad we’re getting to a better place.
Another good sign is that Providence has finally grabbed the reins on the 195 land and has reached an agreement with the state on tax breaks to businesses that build on the property. I’m tired of hearing from Rhode Island’s whiny “NO” crowd about why we shouldn’t be providing tax incentives or breaks to businesses who want to locate here. The reality is that we are competing with cities and states that offer incentives and have a more educated workforce, better schools and a more business-friendly environment. We need to be competitive and I am thrilled that we have finally taken a step forward to make this piece of Providence more attractive to businesses.
Lastly, it’s great to have leadership that we can get behind. I’ll admit to being a “homer” and being very impressed with Governor Raimondo’s first six months. She and her team have been focused on getting our economy moving and creating jobs. While she can’t take all the credit for our economy heading in the right direction, having a governor who sells Rhode Island so well and understands our strengths will go a long way in making our state’s comeback a reality.