Amongst a slew of other issues, one of the biggest problems facing Rhode Island is its inability to entice its young people to remain in the state.
It all begins with the fact that the state's higher education institutions, such as the University of Rhode Island, continue to see their in-state tuition increase. While it is admittedly still cheaper to attend a state university or college and not go elsewhere, how much higher can tuition climb before a majority of Ocean Staters opt to kiss the coast goodbye?
To be fair, Gov. Lincoln Chafee has plans to fix some of the issues facing younger people – and the state in general.
He has made it clear he intends on increasing the funding to these institutions once the economy improves. It was opinion in an interview in late 2010 that “they are far too tuition driven” and that's a trend he wants to reverse.
When that will happen, though, is up to whether or not his plans for fixing the economy actually work. As we reported in December, the governor is looking to increase the sales tax by 1 percent. He also wants to further develop areas such as the wide open 20 acres near Interstate 195 and the “railroad district” near the recently expanded commuter rail line to Warwick.
The economy side of this, though, is all part of the bigger picture that will likely take several years, if not more, to fully implement and realize.
Where the state and its municipalities need to step it up for its young people is in the area of affordable housing and rental units.
We know, “affordable housing” is likely to cause some of you to cringe because too many times it is associated with being shabby, inadequate developments for individuals you might not want living nearby. But why is it that we feel this way?
Find out more in this week's edition of The Chariho Times