Can't seem to overcome
RI offers immense natural beauty, proximity to Boston/New York, and a climate that's mild by New England standards. Also, RI offers perhaps the lowest cost waterfront property anywhere on the NE coastline.
I also think the culture of corruption, both political and in the community, are on the decline. We finally have some politicians who care.
However, there remain some serious issues. There is a very small and declining tax base to cover large expenses, still often held hostage by public sector unions. School quality, while not as bad as in some places (e.g. FL), is not competitive vs. property tax costs. Large institutions, such as Brown University and Lifespan (RI Hospital and many others) could be much more involved in providing services in their community (very limited adult or vocational education here beyond the basics). The job market remains among the worst, unless one is working in a specific area of high demand. Accordingly, property sales have increased, but property values remain in trouble. Then there's the New England "provincial attitude," e.g. that people in RI won't commute to Boston. We pay the price here for the mistakes of others. Finally, health care does not compare to offerings in Boston and New York. For those who care, we have gay marriage, legalized medical marijuana, and legal fireworks for July 4th. We also have mandatory Sunday overtime for hourly employees.
TF Green is a great little airport, in one of the few responsibly managed cities in the area, Warwick. However, Amtrak still does not stop at the new airport facility, and commuter service to Boston ("T") has thus far been limited and expensive. Providence and Newport do have respectable cultural and entertainment scenes for cities of their size.
Overall, it's beautiful in RI if you have the means, and the stomach for the endless adversity. Otherwise, it's a difficult place to prosper, especially as a one-income homeowner. This makes RI a friendly and pretty place to visit, but not a solid investment for business or homeowners to be.
Mike | Warwick, RI