Enough Talk… Cut
Neil Downing notes that Rhode Island’s tax revenues are down in every category. Ed Mazze offers the same-old same-old:
Mazze, who is distinguished professor of business at the University of Rhode Island, and former dean of URI’s College of Business Administration, said that one thing is clear: Rhode Island’s budget gap for the current fiscal year will grow, and could reach $300 million or more.
So what does that mean? “Other than continuing to cut programs, which we will have to do, we’re going to have to look at taxes,” he said.
But before raising taxes, the state should take other steps to try to spur the economy, he said. These include quick-starting road construction and other projects for which funds were approved on Tuesday through bond referenda, he said.
The measures should also include cutting costs at the state and local levels, he said. Among the steps he’d like to see taken: consolidating local government, including school districts, to save money.
If these measures don’t work, he said, the state should consider raising taxes, but only until the economy rebounds. At that point, any tax increases should be scrapped, he said.
In the meantime, government leaders should put together projects “that we’re ready to roll on” as soon as the economy recovers, “so that Rhode Island is not the last state out of the recession,” he said.
If we raise taxes now, we will guarantee that Rhode Island is the very last state out of recession, because residents will have an excuse to flee for an early spring with the first hint of recovery elsewhere. Rhode Island needs to cut the government, get it out of the way, put the people and the businesses first.
Freeze all state-worker salaries and trim benefits. Plenty of Rhode Islanders need work if the unions can’t take it.
Pull back on government hand-outs. To help those in need, give exchangeable tax credits to charities, whether secular or religious.
Go through Rhode Island law and pluck out all unnecessary licensing and business requirements. Tone down all necessary regulations to the bare minimum.
The answers aren’t as complicated as the economic summit folks were trying to make them. They’re only difficult for lack of courage and willingness to listen.