Fiscal Responsibility?

Toilet Paper MoneyI guess I was misled.  I thought RI only had one “problem”.  The problem we in RI have been told is that we have a loophole in the prostitution law.  We have been told we need to shut down the spas, but I guess the politicians (Actually the Governor) forgot to mention that they didn’t have enough money to even keep the government open, never mind pay for the additional toll this law will have on our system.

Yesterday the Governor held a press conference to let the people of RI know that the government will be shutting down for 12 days and local cities and towns will not receive millions in promised aid, so a $70 million hole in the budget can be plugged.

I wonder if this will put the “CLOSE THE PROSTITUTION LOOPHOLE” on the back burner?  Seeing that the government doesn’t even have the money to pay it’s workers, why should it create a new class of criminals that they will be forced house, feed, and “rehabilitate”.

The Family Life Center recently released a report on the the current cost of prostitution in Rhode Island.

From the report:

Rethinking Arrest: Street Prostitution and Public Policy in Rhode Island. According to the report, street prostitution is still prevalent in Providence, Central Falls, Woonsocket, and Pawtucket, involving over 350 women in the last three years. The report analyzes public policy and concludes that the state could save at least half a million dollars by not arresting and imprisoning women for street prostitution, which resulted in at least 215 incarcerations in 2008…. Of the 215 women incarcerated, 102 were sentenced to prison for an average of 102 days. These women had on average been convicted of prostitution 6 times before and as many as 23 times. The report concludes that Rhode Island should focus on a prostitution policy that includes an expansion of the RENEW outreach model to other cities and a reduction in the use of incarceration.

The state is spending $500,000 a year on sending women to prison for outdoor prostitution, I would assume that this would minimally double when they criminalize indoor prostitution.  Is this worth it?  Should we have the state workers take another day off so we can send these women to prison?  Maybe we should cut a few more programs…

One response to “Fiscal Responsibility?

  1. What really irks me is when people say things like “We don’t want this in our economy!” or “this is scaring away business”. The fact of the matter is that Rhode Island’s economy is already benefiting greatly from the sex industry, my estimates (cocktail-napkin math) show that sex work in Rhode Island has the same footprint in the economy as ‘fishing, agriculture, and forestry’, and employs about as many, too.

    The spas pay rent and consume commercial space, which is tremendously important if you take a walk around the city and count the number of empty shops and mills. Does Rhode Island really need 40 more empty commercial units? What if the law passes and only half the spas are shut down? Does that mean that we’ve lost 20 commercial units and we’ve induced the other 20 into paying-off police?

    The ripples from the escort business fill hotel rooms and seats at restaurants, there are people streaming in from nearby states for a quick ‘tug job’ and dropping $60 into our economy -thousands- of times every day. I can’t see how things will be -better- here without this money coming in.

    When a business considers locating somewhere, they look at a lot of things: Quality of life for employees, customer base, tax codes, insurance rates, etc. Nowhere on that list is the ‘morality’ of the location. Unfortunately, when times are tough, people look towards a scapegoat they can easily blame for their problems, and that’s prostitution in Rhode Island now.

    Our leaders have -failed- to produce a state that can compete, and now in the panic of our death-spiral (more taxes, less business, lower tax-base, more taxes, repeat ad-nauseam) and now to appease the masses (who don’t even want this law), they’re going to shoot themselves in the foot and ‘throw some hookers in jail’.

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