Moore: Hurley’s Exit Shows Raimondo, URI Think Small

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Danny Hurley is gone. If Rhode Island didn't waste money, it could have afforded to keep him. (Photo Credit: Eric Rueb)

I found it rather ironic, in a painful way. Just one day after The Hartford Courant stepped in to remind Rhode Island how bad it sucks their state stole our basketball coach. 

It was an annoying article. Who really cares which person is thinner when they’re both at fat camp? Neither one of the two is attractive.

http://www.courant.com/opinion/editorials/hc-ed-rhode-island-connecticut-raimondo-blossoming-debt-20180320-story.html

But just 24-hours later, the URI Men’s Basketball Coach, Danny Hurley weighed in with his verdict. The highly regarded coach, who guided the Rams to two straight NCAA Tournament Appearances (getting further than Providence College both times), a regular season A-10 title this year, and an A-10 Tournament Championship last year is leaving Rhode Island for…Connecticut! 

Connecticut Outbids RI

So much for us being so much better. 

Connecticut reportedly is paying Hurley over $3 million per year. Rhode Island thought they were making a competitive offer–at $2 million a year.

Throw in the fact that Connecticut has won two national titles in the last 15 years–and it was really a no-brainer for Hurley. 

The state of Rhode Island could have kept the coach. But they would have had to open their checkbook to do it. 

Talk is cheap Gina Raimondo. Real leaders get things done.

That’s unsurprising, since the state is always so cautious with taxpayer money. (Did you just throw up reading my attempt at sarcasm?)

Except Rhode Island, under Gina Raimondo’s “leadership” has been giving away money like it’s free. She’s giving Johnson & Johnson $5 million to come here.

Raimondo’s Giveaways

Under her direction, the state has spent $3.7 million on Prospect Heights Redevelopment. The Commerce Corporation is spending $3 million to develop the Union Trust Company Building on Westminster Street in Providence. It’s spending $6.1 million on 78 Fountain Street. 

There’s more. And it gets worse. 

The state is paying $32 million to the Wexford Science & Technology and its local partner, CV Properties, to develop what was previously the route 195 land. This is the land that state officials were bragging about as such a tremendous “asset” that we possessed. I know Rhode Islanders suffer from amnesia, but how can anyone forget Lincoln Chafee, then-candidate for Governor, in 2010, gush about this “asset”. It’s such an asset, you see, that we need to spend $32 million to pay someone to develop it. 

She’s All Talk

Further, we all know state leaders are just itching to pay tens of millions of dollars so that the wealthy Pawtucket Red Sox owners can have their shiny new stadium that nobody else cares about or wants. 

Against this backdrop, Rhode Islanders are supposed to believe that we cannot afford to pay our successful basketball coach, who reinvigorated the program and made Rhode Island exciting the last two winters. Investing in higher education should be a priority in Rhode Island. It actually leads to economic development. 

It’s too bad “think big, we do”, is nothing but a hollow slogan.

It’s also too bad we have myopic leaders. 

Thanks to them, the University of RI will continue to languish. So will the whole state. 

 

 

Russell Moore
Russell J. Moore is the publisher and founder of rirelevant.com. He’s been writing about Rhode Island since 2005. You should definitely follow him on twitter @russmoore713. If you want to send him email, you can send it to russmoore713@gmail.com
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