Rhode Island has placed 21st nationally in U.S. News & World Report’s inaugural “Best States” rankings, based on an analysis of 68 metrics across seven broad categories.
The publication shows the state ranking first in “Medicare quality,” second in “growth of young population,” third in “crime and corrections,” 10th in overall health care, 18th in economy, 31st in overall education, 35th in infrastructure and 38th in government — and eighth in “college readiness,” a ranking that Raimondo seized on to again push her proposal to provide free tuition for students at Rhode Island’s three public colleges.
Her so-called Promise Scholarship plan has received the support of several Democrat and Republican mayors — but not Cranston Mayor Allan Fung, whom she defeated in the 2014 gubernatorial election, nor House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello, who blasted Raimondo’s proposal in a Tweet last week while reaffirming his intention to eliminate the state car tax.
“We know that the jobs coming to Rhode Island require a degree beyond high school. This survey validates the work we’ve done to better prepare our high school students for college. It also makes clear that we can’t afford not to invest in their future,” Raimondo said.
If she had hoped for the speaker’s blessing, it has not been forthcoming. Mattiello tweeted on Friday: “What is truly unsustainable and fiscally irresponsible is [Raimondo’s] plan to make us the only state in the nation to give away ‘free’ taxpayer-funded college tuition.”
Raimondo’s proposal would provide free tuition and waive mandatory fees for two years for Rhode Island students in good standing at the Community College of Rhode Island, Rhode Island College and the University of Rhode Island. It would be phased in over the next several years, reaching an annual cost of $30 million in the 2021 fiscal year.
In the pre-publication information it released to Raimondo’s office, U.S. News & World Report made special note of its 10th-place health-care ranking, saying Rhode Island demonstrated “some of the best health-care access and the best Medicare quality.”
The full report on Rhode Island and the 49 other states was published Tuesday morning.
In a background paper, the publication — known for its annual rankings of best high schools, colleges, doctors, hospitals and more — explained its rationale for creating a Best States category, which follows its new Best Countries list, begun last year.
U.S. News said it aimed to “provide a platform for citizens, government leaders and business executives alike to compare and better understand the issues, insights and best practices that matter most for states…
“Existing state rankings tend to focus on a very narrow set of issues, such as the business or tax environment of a state or the education and health care offered there. U.S. News Best States is the first comprehensive effort to gauge how state governments perform across a wide array of issues. This project provides citizens with a full picture of state government performance.”
Massachusetts was ranked the top state, followed by New Hampshire. Mississippi was rated 49th, with Louisiana coming in dead last.
The publication explains its intricate methodology here.
Raimondo has been aggressively pushing her free-tuition plan, including at her economic summit last week and at an appearance last month at Cranston High School East.
Source: The Providence Journal