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Optimism Offensive

Scratch beneath the surface and you’ll find Rhode Islanders like a lot about the state

David Scharfenberg writes about Scott Wolf’s one-man optimism offensive in this week’s Providence Phoenix.

Seven or eight years ago, with the state’s economy aflutter and Providence in ascendance, Scott Wolf thought Rhode Island was finally starting to shed its inferiority complex.

But alas, he says, the Great Recession has the body politic engaged in the old ritual of self-flagellation: we are, once again, an economic backwater, a cauldron of corruption, a bloated bureaucracy, the little engine that couldn’t.

But in recent months, with a pair of columns in the ProJo and a string of emails to civic-minded types highlighting those pieces, Wolf has launched a lonely bid to pull the state out the doldrums. “I see the pessimism deepening at the same time that I think we need to play to our strengths more than ever,” he says.

Among his prescriptions for growth: reinstituting a targeted state historic tax credit for rehabilitation of historic commercial buildings, exploring an ocean-research corridor with Massachusetts and Connecticut, and expanding public transit. “We’ve been pursuing an austerity agenda more than a prosperity agenda,” he says.

Read the entire article here.

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