Taxpayers Brainwashed; Government for Sale

In a relatively short op-ed, Republican state office holders Nicholas Gorham (Coventry) and Laurence Ehrhardt (North Kingstown) make it clear to anybody who reads the paper how dire is the need to vote a large segment of our current slate of legislators right out of office:

On Oct. 10, the Tax Foundation ranked Rhode Island 50th — the worst in the country — in its State Business Tax Climate Index. …
On the morning of Oct. 30, the very day of the House session, State House leaders, including the House’s own fiscal advisers, were making final preparations for the Revenue and Caseload Estimating Conference, scheduled for the following morning, Oct. 31. In this meeting, the flow of money from taxes is calculated, and the cost of various government programs is projected.
As it turned out, it was a very bad morning. …
Starting at 4 p.m. on Oct. 30, every AFL-CIO bill placed on the calendar for override of the governor’s veto passed the Democratic-controlled House and Senate by large margins. Vetoes on another 15 bills were overridden as well.
At a time when everyone recognized the state faced a severe fiscal crisis, the Democrat-controlled House and Senate overrode vetoes on a total of 25 issues. Of this total, four either raised taxes or increased the cost to the public of using government services; fifteen raised the cost of government outright; and three restricted the governor’s ability to act as the chief executive without legislative meddling.

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Monique
13 years ago

In the face of the state’s imminent drop off the fiscal precipice, these actions by Democrats in the G.A. were astounding. One can only conclude that they wished to accelerate the dive.

johnpaycheck
johnpaycheck
13 years ago

i realize the unions have alot of power.. b ut i just cant believe how they cave in to union demands so easily..i guese the opposition has been beaten down so badly.

Mike
Mike
13 years ago

Johnny:
Let me educate you on how the system works. A decent councilman named Pistauro is running for a House special election seat in Warwick on Tuesday. He is against the unions and the welfare/illegal crowd. He has raised 800 and has a few local workers.
He is opposed by Frank Fairy, a darling of the sodomy rights, welfare and illegal crowd-and of the unions. Supporters statewide have filtered into the District to help him-and have donated cash to the tune of $20,000.
Guess who tends to win local races-the candidate with 20 times the cash and workers.
Which is why, when faced with well financed opponents like Carcieri and Laffey, the Smith Hill pigs tend to melt but when dealing with local races where “name recognition” is the game, the Smith Hill pigs tend to win.

rhody
rhody
13 years ago

Funny, most of the big union and Democratic Party backing (including the Lynch mob, the NRA, ETC.) came down for Ferri’s opponent in thAT primary.

Monique
13 years ago

You’re right. The only solution is to vote for Jonathan Wheeler.

Red
Red
13 years ago

I don’t live in Warwick but would volunteer some of my time for the Wheeler campaign.
Are they doing anything this weekend that I could help out with? Phoning voters, door knocking?

Monique
13 years ago

Yes, they are, Red. Anyone interested in volunteering can go to the website of either Jonathan Wheeler or the RIGOP.
http://www.wheelerforrep.org/index-4.html
http://www.rigop.org/

klaus
klaus
13 years ago

Justin, thank you! I was getting nervous that you’d never bring up the Tax Foundation rankings. Why would I be afraid of this? Surely, it shows how wrong RI is, and puts the boot to all my socialist ravings, right? Try again. Let’s look at these. Let’s take a look at their selection criteria the Tax Found uses. Let’s see: taxes, taxes, taxes and taxes. Yup, broad-based. And let’s look at their favorites. Wyoming has been #1, and SD #2 for the past few years running. Yep, businesses must be flocking there by the hundreds. And let’s look at some other measures. Want to live in Wyoming? Seems that it ranks 27th in median income. And SD? Well, that comes in at #35. What can we infer from this? Perhaps that the friendly “business climate” is friendly to the economic elite, who benefit from low taxes, but not so hot for the people who actually work there. Not that anyone works in Wyo. What is the population? Smaller than RI? I believe they have a single rep in the House of Reps. A very few people knocking around in a very large state. Yup, sure sounds like a business mecca to me. So, Justin, is it possible that businesses might consider other things besides just taxes? Like, oh, maybe decent infrastructure, or the education level of the potential workforce? In which case, RI’s ranking at the bottom is a trifle moot, isn’t it, based as it is on a sole criterion. And, btw, RI is one of the few states that actually gained jobs in CY 2002 – 2005. That’s per Carcieri’s budget. Seems like an odd turn of events for a state that’s so unfriendly to business. And that was before the tax cuts that gave away the store… Read more »

Greg
Greg
13 years ago

“…is it possible that businesses might consider other things besides just taxes? Like, oh, maybe decent infrastructure, or the education level of the potential workforce?”
Sure it’s possible. Could you list all the job-crating companies that have moved to RI because of those things in the last five years?
Interesting how you mention the growth in number of jobs. Every other time I hear a liberal talk about them it’s followed up with “…but those are low paying jobs…”

John
John
13 years ago

One short question Klaus:
How do you propose to close the $600 million budget deficit facing RI? Not apportion the blame for it, but close it?

klaus
klaus
13 years ago

I’ll make it simple: the business rankings have no correlation to where businesses locate.
The Tax Foundation selection criteria only benefit those at the apex of the econ pyramid.
Ergo, RI’s ranking at #50 is meaningless.
BTW: both SD and WY receive way more back in Fed tax revenues than they pay in. That means you and I are, in part, footing the bill so those two states can keep their own taxes low. You don’t like paying for deadbeats in this state, but you don’t seem to mind paying for deadbeats in other states.
Also: of the ten states that receive the most money back from the fed gov’t, ALL of them voted for Bush either in 00 or 04; 9 of them voted for Bush in both ’00 and ’04.
So your tax dollars are going to support deadbeats who also vote Republican.
And of the 10 states that pay the most fed tax, 7 voted Dem in both ’00 and ’04. Of all the 17 states that paid more fed taxes than they received back, 13 (76% for those of you keeping score at home) voted Dem in both ’00 and ’04.
So the blue states are subsidizing the lazy, immoral lifestyle of those deadbeat Republicans.

Greg
Greg
13 years ago

Gee, you’d think that Democrat-controlled Congress would fix that if it wasn’t exactly the way they wanted it to be…

klaus
klaus
13 years ago

Greg: your governor provided me with the information on job creation numbers. Ask him.
John, to start closing the budget gap, I’d repeal the tax cuts given to those earning over $200k. They weren’t running for the exits before, doubt they will again.
As for the Dem congress, it will take them a long, long, long time to clean up the mess the Reps have left. Don’t forget: There’s been a Rep congress for most of the last 15 years. They screwed things up bad.
And, btw: they’re the ones obstructing all business. They’re fillibustering everything that comes their way in the Senate. Say, what about that nukular option now…to keep the minority in their place. Sounds like a great idea now, doesn’t it?
And Justin, I’m disappointed that you haven’t weighed in. C’mon, call me a socialist. Tell me I’m whacko.

Ragin' Rhode Islander
Ragin' Rhode Islander
13 years ago

–So, Justin, is it possible that businesses might consider other things besides just taxes? Like, oh, maybe decent infrastructure, or the education level of the potential workforce?
They consider those things to be sure, as well as union influence / dominance, which is why the “right to work” states have above average economic growth rates, while union hack states like RI have below average economic growth rates.
And given Rhode Island’s potholed roads, collapsing bridges and below average public education performance – plus extraordinarily high tax burden – no wonder businesses have EVERY INCENTIVE NOT TO COME TO RI.
Oh, and did I mention our title of “Louisiana of the North” in honor of our decades of political corruption? Yeah, there’s another item for businesses to consider – how many Democrat palms will have to be greased to conduct business here, and for how much?

Mike
Mike
13 years ago

Klaus-
You have been asked to provide solutions to the $600 million tab run up by the union and welfare pigs on Smith Hill.
Your silence is resounding-along with the rest of your “stunned” allies like Paiva-Weed.
You all made the bed-now you will learn to lie in it. It’s gonna be a “Fun, Fun, Fun” GA session. With apologies to the beach Boys.

David
David
13 years ago

I think we should raise taxes to cover the shortfall. That would be the fair way of spreading the pain around. State income taxes, business taxes and user fees are the most progressive and democratric. We need to take care of the mess that Carcieri- the most incompetent Bush-like stooge – the state has ever known ( and thats saying something) and then figure out how to change a government that clearly is not working in a new world.

Justin Katz
13 years ago

David,
Rhode Island’s tax burden is already among the highest in the nation. People in the meaty part of the tax-paying (and business-creating) range — those earning over two times the poverty level — are leaving the state or being dragged down. Raising the taxes is no more the answer than blaming the governor for the General Assembly’s poor governance is the truth.

John
John
13 years ago

Klaus,
I’ll make the same points to you I did to Michael the Firefighter on another thread:
At the recent Revenue Estimating Conference, the data showed falling sales and income tax revenues. Since RI’s population hasn’t changed much in terms of total numbers, something else must be going on. Maybe it is more internet purchases (but that would only explain sales tax declines, not income tax declines). Maybe it is more Rhode Island residents working and shopping in Massachusetts (that would explain both). And/or maybe it is a weakening in the RI economy — which would drive down RI income and therefore income and sales tax collections. But the point is this: raising the marginal individual income tax rate on “the rich” (which, in RI, seems to rhetorically include anybody not eligible for RITE Care and subsidized child care) won’t result in anything close to $600 million in higher income tax revenues if either of these potential causes of declining income tax collections is true. So that basically leaves broadening the sales tax base to include a whole range of services that can’t easily be bought on the internet or in Massachusetts or Connecticut (but not, of course, fees paid to lawyers, which would strike at too many General Assembly members’ income). Is this your “Plan B” in case your “raise the income tax rate on those making more than $200,000” plan doesn’t close the $600 million deficit?
Incidentally, when you suggest raising business taxes, you forget that RI has one of the nation’s highest percentages of small businesses, the vast majority of which are pass through entities for tax purposes — that is, they pay personal income taxes on their taxable profits, not corporate taxes.
Needless to say, I’m looking forward to your answer.

rhody
rhody
13 years ago

To combine the two trains of thought here…
There’s a fellow on the ballot in the special election Tuesday who’s created jobs, who’s met a payroll. He is neither a lawyer nor a teacher nor a union official, but is just the kind of small businessman that Gov. Carcieri would like to see more of in the General Assembly. He’s bucked the Democratic leadership, state and municipal employee unions, and the political machine.
His name is Frank Ferri.

Ragin' Rhode Islander
Ragin' Rhode Islander
13 years ago

>>To combine the two trains of thought here…
There’s a fellow on the ballot in the special election Tuesday who’s created jobs, who’s met a payroll. He is neither a lawyer nor a teacher nor a union official, but is just the kind of small businessman that Gov. Carcieri would like to see more of in the General Assembly. He’s bucked the Democratic leadership, state and municipal employee unions, and the political machine.
His name is Frank Ferri.
You mean that stealth candidate representing the homosexual marriage lobby?
Why did you feel compelled to leave that overriding piece of disclosure out of your post?
Could it be the same reason that he’s keeping this platform item “in the closet” hoping the voters of Warwick won’t know?

rhody
rhody
13 years ago

The voters knew that already, Ragin. I’m sure if anybody didn’t know, the press and his primary opponents covered those bases (and the other two fellas say more about it in their campaign pitches than about what they plan to do – just ask Pisaturo which party he’ll caucus with).
I’m just pointing out the logic of a guy who has virtually all the qualities conservatives want from a General Assembly candidate being shown the back of their hand just because he’s gay. Given that he operates a successful family-oriented business in a heavily Italian Catholic town, a growing number of people fail to find his sexual orientation a disqualifying factor.
Say hi to the missus and I some night at Rock’n’Bowl, Ragin – it’s a good time for all, even if they play too much Carrie Underwood and Kid Rock.

Ragin' Rhode Islander
Ragin' Rhode Islander
13 years ago

–I’m just pointing out the logic of a guy who has virtually all the qualities conservatives want from a General Assembly candidate being shown the back of their hand just because he’s gay.
Not because he’s gay Rhody. Because he’s pushing a homosexual marriage agenda – the same reason a lot of us don’t support, e.g., Giuliani, who is straight, but also supports homosexual marriage (along with other liberal positions).

Andrew
13 years ago

Rhody,
I just gave a quick look to Mr. Ferri’s website. His first two issues for helping “working families” are child care subsidies and “living wage”. His education policy is code for “funding formula”, which means increasing taxes to send more money to underperforming education bureaucracies (and away from Warwick, by the way). His healthcare statement is too vague to be objectively meaningful, but if he’s got a plan to achieve his goals that doesn’t involve increasing taxes and/or state healthcare bureaucracy, he’s not presenting it.
You say that Mr. Ferri is “a guy who has virtually all the qualities conservatives want from a General Assembly candidate”. How is this possibly true of a guy who is pretty clearly for more taxes, more regulation, and more government run programs across the board? Name one issue that he’s going to break with the fiscally irresponsible Democratic party of Rhode Island on.
(And of course, he had the early endorsement of Gordon Fox, which raises the obvious question — will he be endorsing Rep. Fox’s plan to investigate building new offices for the legislature, at the same time the rest of the state is going under.)

Andrew
13 years ago

My two links in the above post weren’t properly formatted; they are:
Mr. Ferri’s website
Rep. Fox’s plan to investigate building new offices for the legislature

Ragin' Rhode Islander
Ragin' Rhode Islander
13 years ago

Mr. Ferri better call his webmaster.
In the section on issues – among all the other generalities and coded language to the teachers unions the he won’t rock their boat (“public education is the backbone” / “teachers are heroes”) – s/he (webmaster) forgot to post that he’s also for mom, apple pie and homosexual marriage.

Monique
Monique
13 years ago

Hey, David?
#1: Let’s give credit where credit is properly due. The state’s current mess was a 100% creation of the Democrat controlled General Assembly.
Below is a link to Rhode Island’s Constitution for your ease of reference.
#2: The “pain” is already being inequitably borne by the parties you propose to further tax. Rhode Island has the worst business climate and corporate tax climate in the country.
And the recent adjustment by the GA (one of the few productive things they’ve done recently) to the top income tax bracket was not a windfall to anyone but only brought us in line with our neighboring states. (Sorry, Rhody.) Jacking it back up not only would drive people and big businesses away, it would not come close to making up the shortfall.
Further, this state has the seventh highest taxes overall and, as Andrew noted recently, the most sluggish economy in the region because of these high taxes. In short, unless we intend to go out and shanghai rich people and big businesses and keep them in the state paying taxes under threat of violence, we’ve done everything we can on the revenue side of the budget. The operating deficit, therefore, will only be closed by adjustments to the spending side.
#3: FYG, neither George Bush nor Don Carcieri are eligible to run for reelection.
http://www.rilin.state.ri.us/gen_assembly/RiConstitution/riconst.html

rhody
rhody
13 years ago

Ah, the gay marriage fears. Realistically, it’ll never happen as long as Carcieri, Murphy and Montalbano (or any combination thereof) are in charge.
As for Fox, he’s in the leadership because he’s part of the lawyer-consultant-GTECH complex. If he gets uppity about gay marriage, you know Murphy will boot him off the team (and make sure a Fox primary opponent has all the $ he/she needs).
I don’t see anybody getting a majority in this race. My only question, if Ferri does pull it out, is: would you hold Pisaturo or Wheeler more responsible?

mike
mike
13 years ago

All the fairies in the unions and out have swamped Warwick drumming up support for Fairy so it is hard to see him not getting a plurality. Next year, in a non-special elections the fairies for Fairy will not be able to focus on this race so there may be a difficult race.
In any event, with a $600 million dollar deficit, the highest sales tax and second highest income tax in America this year will be a debacle for the Democrats in the GA. Anyone who just witnessed Looney Left Liz’s 2 pathetic, bumbling, stumbling, doubletalk appearances on 10 News Conference and 6 News On The Record can testify to that.
The “progressives”, whose ruinous union and welfare giveaways have bankrupted the state, are at an intellectual nadir.
Like Paiva-Weed they are “stunned”. It is starting to hit them that they have killed the golden goose. The people made them CHOKE on their cigarette tax increase, now they are choking on their Marxist level sales and income taxes and in a panic that the “suckers” will evade these tax hikes and resist the progressive “investments” in the union maggots and welfare leeches.
It’s gonna be a fun session. 36 days and counting.

Justin Katz
13 years ago

Mike,
You make good points. Why do you allow your language to give the other side a reason to dismiss you?

rhody
rhody
13 years ago

Ferri, or anyone working on his behalf, cannot produce a more effective campaign ad than Mike’s above rant.

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