Further to the remarks (the gift that keeps on giving) of Senator Stephen Alves at the Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce’s legislative lunch last week – specifically:
“I think we have been fair to the business community,” Alves, D-West Warwick, said. “The pain should be shared equally.”
Gosh, that sounds good in theory. The hitch is that, to date, distribution of the pain has been quite uneven, as the numbers starkly reveal.
Rhode Island taxpayers are the fourth highest taxed. Rhode Island corporations literally could not be in a worse position, tax-wise and, further, probably would like evidence of the fairness purportedly shown to them.
On the flip side, Rhode Island spending on social service programs is in the top third nationally. Rhode Island teacher pay (the ultimate destination of much of the Education Aid to Cities and Towns) ranks eighth highest nationally. And benefits for Rhode Island state employees constitute an additional 88% of salary versus 29% in the private sector.
In light of these numbers, it is understandable that the reaction of Rhode Island corporations to Senator Alves’ statement would be, “Thanks, Senator, but we’ve been ‘sharing’ the pain for a while. Is it someone else’s turn yet?”