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Thursday, July 21, 2011

After PC tip, ProJo sticks another fork into OSPRI "Piglet"

This has been a really bad day for the Ocean State Policy Research Institute (OSPRI). First, GoLocalProv ran a scoop that OSPRI is going out of business. Then, the Providence Journal's Politifacts slapped their dreaded "Pants on Fire" label on OSPRI's new "Piglets" report on supposedly wasteful government spending in Rhode Island.

Politifacts' slam on OSPRI today resulted from a tip-off from Progressive Charlestown.



After writing here in Progressive Charlestown about OSPRI's completely false claim that Charlestown misspent over $16 million on 14 wasteful projects - a claim that was totally false - I wrote a letter to the Providence Journal (published July 15) noting those findings and suggesting the Journal look at OSPRI's claims for other towns.

They did, and today Politifacts reported their spot check of 50 projects listed in OSPRI's "Piglet" book revealed that only a tiny fraction were actually funded, and usually at far lower levels. Politifacts noted that it did not judge the merits of the projects, i.e. whether they were truly "wasteful" since that is a subjective judgment - but only whether OSPRI's claims were true.

And they weren't. Politifacts concluded: "Because OSPRI got so much so wrong, we’re thrusting a spit through the Piglet Book’s stimulus section and roasting it. This little piggy is going "Wee! Wee! Wee!" all the way to a Pants on Fire!"

OSPRI's false claims about Charlestown gets prominent treatment in the Politifacts article, with a tip of the hat to acting Town Administrator, Charlestown Treasurer Pat Anderson who confirmed that OSPRI was wrong about Charlestown.

Author: Will Collette