Reduce Poverty by lower taxes, not more

It’s not a stretch to say things are tough all over this year, worse than most. Yet, whether it’s good times or bad, the one constant is that we will see news stories detailing the annual end-of-year (ie; right around Christmas) Poverty Institute study aimed at tugging at our wallets heartstrings. (They alternate the publication of their “Rhode Island Standard of Need” report and their “State of Working Rhode Island” report).
But I’m not going to take them to task for advocating for the poor, nor do I dispute their findings. I have little doubt that budget deficits will affect the programs for which they advocate. I certainly don’t want to see hungry, homeless kids. No one does. But the problem is that they have sent the same message year after year: “Rhode Island(ers) are not doing enough.” And people–average Rhode Island taxpayers–are less likely to be receptive to the guilt game when they are feeling the pain themselves. Maybe the impact of the PI’s message would be greater in lean times if it wasn’t broadcast so loudly in good times.
And maybe, instead of focusing on increasing Rhode Island’s tax burden, they should turn their attention to shrinking other areas of government to make up for the shortfalls in the programs they prioritize. No one wants to “balance the budget on the backs of the poor,” so why don’t they spend more time advocating for cutting the extravagances in state and local government or consolidating services to free up more money for those in need?
That’s a better solution than adding to Rhode Island’s tax burden, particularly on businesses (say, by advocating for expanding sales tax to services). Taking money out of the pockets of job producers is one surefire way to reduce employment and add to the constituency for which the Poverty Institute advocates. And I’m sure they wouldn’t want that.

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15 years ago

Marc, you are 100% correct, in every respect.

15 years ago

Yep, wouldn’t that be great if Kate, Jerzyk, Crowley, et al would instead come out with something like “We oppose the building of a new courthouse in Lincoln. Instead put those funds toward the hungry children. We oppose health benefits for state legislators. We oppose state employees getting Blue Cross when United Health is cheaper. Switch over the plans and put the funds toward working mothers needing help with daycare. We oppose outgoing legislators going on a taxpayer funded vacation business trip when those funds could have supplied a bed for x number of homeless people.
Why is that hard to do? It’s too easy to just say “pay more”. C’mon Kate, do some research into the state budget and instead of finding the shortfalls, find the pork! I dare you! I beg you! Anyone with the Poverty Institute. Please!!

15 years ago

Pitcher, don’t hold your breath.
While I have no doubt that, at the end of this game, both the Poverty crowd and the public sector unions will attempt to throw each other under the bus to save their share of the pie, right now both are waiting to see if (since the RI pie is shrinking and the budget deficit is rising), the Obama administration will write them a check that let’s them avoid the last quarter of the end game for another year.
But rest assured, at some point, the poverty crowd will call for cuts in public sector union pensions, and/or municipal bankruptcies (in fact, merely agreeing to cuts in aid to cities and towns will hasten this outcome, while providing Kate and company the “plausible deniability” — we never imagined THAT would happen! — they crave).
But in terms of asking them to display any intellectual honesty — forget it.

15 years ago

Look for the progressives Economic Growth And Fairness Act of 2009:
Raise taxes on da rich. Raise cigarette, alcohol and gasoline taxes to “number 1” in America. Raise the sales tax to 8% and broaden it to include everything but your underwear.
BUT, the progressives will (LOL) “promise” to lower it in 2 years and they will throw you a fifty buck check for “property tax relief”-while your property taxes go up $300.
Buy EVERYTHING taxable online or cross-border.
SCREWRI-and the crooks who run it.

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