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Abstract

Rhode Island has not shared equally in New England's economic resurgence of recent years. A major reevaluation of the state's economic malaise in 1982-84 resulted in a $250 million program called the Greenhouse Compact to improve business in the state. Initially supported in polls by a two-to-one margin, the Compact was defeated overwhelmingly when it went to a statewide referendum. The timing of the referendum and mistakes in the public relations strategy and in the structure of the Compact all played a role in the outcome, but post-election polls showed that defeat, based on a massive shift of undecided voters, ultimately revolved around a lack of trust in government and in the state's leadership. Rhode Islanders made an understandable choice which unfortunately led to the loss of a great opportunity for the state.

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