Welcome to The Squid’s Ink: we print Rhode Island’s dark and humorous truth
Since 2020, the Rhode Island state government has been sitting on the so-called “once in a generation” $1.2 Billion Dollars of federal funds. “We’re so used to having lobbyists tell us what to do that we kind of forgot how to think for ourselves,” said a source near the Independent Man.
To facilitate passing the buck, the legislature has created a web page ( https://www.rilegislature.gov/Special/Pages/ARPASFSFRP.aspx) for citizens to make recommendations on how to spend the pork. Er cash.
Meanwhile, our team of hackers cracked the site and uncovered the following requests from prominent people and organizations… (The password was “ShowMeTheMoney”)
· Soon to be former Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza wants $71,797,600 to buy every resident an ebike. He also requested an additional $450,043,125 to build a weather-resistant dome over the city, and turn every street into a bike lane. “This will make Providence the greenest and fittest city in the United States,” Elorza said. “And you’ll never have to pay for parking again.”
· Meanwhile, the Department of Transportation countered with a proposal to “Pave The Bay.” DOT Director Peter Alviti, Jr. said, “Not only do roads equal jobs, but it will make us invulnerable to sea level rise.”
· Providence Mayoral Candidate Brett Smiley asked that the entirety of the $1.2 billion go to pay off the city’s pension liability. “This will make a lot of investment bankers very happy,” Smiley said. “And we’ll only owe another $60 million or so.”
· Interim Governor Daniel McKee first suggested giving high paying consulting contracts to members of staff, but backpedaled when reporters pointed out he’d already done that.
· Rhode Island Senate President Dominick J. Ruggerio offered to arm wrestle House Speaker Joe Shekarchi for spending rights. “Most powerful politician in the state my ass,” Ruggerio was heard to mutter.
· Meanwhile, the Rhode Island Republican Party proposed refunding the money directly to taxpayers. “If you elect us, we’ll give you $1,000,” said chairperson Sue Cienki. “It’s not a bribe if it’s your money.”
· Neil Steinberg of the Rhode Island Foundation was overheard suggesting donating the entirety of funds directly to the foundation. “Forget about politicians, we know what’s best.”
· The Trinity Rep Company asked for $160 million to fund a new Project Discovery Program. “Live theater is good for you,” said Artistic Director Curt Columbus. “We’re going to make a new generation of kids turn off their cell phones and sit still.” The Wilbury Theatre Group and the Gamm also raised their hands, shouting, “Forsooth!”
· National Grid actually invoiced the state for $780 million so that they could pay off their shareholders before transitioning the company’s operation to PPL of Pennsylvania. “We know we don’t deserve it,” said chairman Sir Peter Gershon. “But we’re going to leave, and we really don’t care anymore.”
· Developers Jason Fane of the Fane Tower and David Sweetser of High Rock, which owns the Superman Building said that they’d take $123 million each to go away.
· Convicted bank swindler Joseph Mollicone, Jr. asked for $15 million. $12 million to pay back the money he still owes, and another $3 million, “just because.”
· Brown University put in for a $400 million grant, saying that while its endowment was doing quite well, “We think Dr. Ashish Jha did such a great job, we’re going to buy him another building. Or three.”
· Full Disclosure: Motif Publisher, Michael Ryan asked for $5 million to “Take it to the next level and go national.” He also promised to take the money and double writer’s pay. Then he plans to spend the rest on a vacation home in Northern Pawtucket.