The Chill Up Rhode Island’s Spine
Legislators — even those who are trying to sound conciliatory to RI businesses — are making some scary noises:
Stephen D. Alves, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, suggested yesterday that lawmakers may raise business taxes to balance the state budget.
The remarks, at the Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce’s high-profile legislative luncheon, ran counter to what had appeared to be a growing consensus at the State House regarding personal and corporate income taxes.
“I think we have been fair to the business community,” Alves, D-West Warwick, said. “The pain should be shared equally.”
High on my list of priorities for this weekend is to roll out some research that (I think) prove that to be a very bad idea and even making the suggestion to be a detrimental action. But there are other possibilities that we have to watch out for:
Senate Majority Leader M. Teresa Paiva Weed, D-Newport, pledged to study consolidating school services, such as busing, student lunches and health insurance for teachers.
Paiva Weed also defended controversial limits on annual property tax increases. To help cities and towns cope, she said, the state plans to pay closer attention to spending by local school departments.
Consolidating health insurance under the watch of the union-controlled state government is tantamount to protecting the benefit from the gravity of the private sector’s reality. They’ll just try to shuffle the money around a bit less visibly. And “closer attention to spending by local school departments”? I’m sure I’m not alone in my utter lack of confidence that the state would be any better than the local school committees at promoting the correct priorities; they’ll just be less reachable by the taxpayers.