Taking Care of Rhode Island (In the Hit Man Sense)
The business section of the Providence Journal was full of discouraging words, yesterday. Consider this from the dangerously clueless Senate Finance Committee Chairman Stephen Alves (D., West Warwick):
When I asked him afterward about his remarks, Alves said that state tax collections were down last month, compared not only with January 2007, but also with January 2006.
“This is getting larger and larger,” he said of the state’s budget problem, “and passing it to cities and towns” isn’t the way to go.
He said he doesn’t favor increasing the state’s personal income-tax rates. Nor does he favor raising the state’s sales-tax rates (although he said he would consider “expanding the scope” of the sales tax).
What about raising the minimum corporate income tax? “It’s certainly something we’re looking at,” he said.
For example, he said, raising the tax to $1,000, from the current $500, would mean an increase of about $10 a week for 94 percent of the companies that do business in Rhode Island, he said.
That seems reasonable, he said, especially given the deficits that Rhode Island is facing, and the costs that workers must shoulder, Alves said. “The pain has to be shared equally,” he said.
Senate President Joseph Montalbano throws in increases to the flat-tax and the capital gains tax.
Then we get this gobbledegook from some URI electrical and computer engineering professor named Donald Tufts:
We need greater tax fairness in Rhode Island and a spirit of sharing and common sacrifices like that of the “Greatest Generation” of the 1940’s. Then we can come through our state’s difficult financial period, as we did during the credit union crisis. The present crisis, like the credit union failures, was caused by inappropriate special-interest legislation, which needs to be quickly reversed.
Only, by “special interests,” Tufts doesn’t mean unions and entitlement grabbers; he means the wealthy. You know, the few percent of Rhode Islanders who pay 40% of the taxes. People who are free to leave, as the residents in the income categories below them have been doing.
These folks have us on a course to find out just how much pain Rhode Island can share among its residents — at least those who pay the bills.