Local Governments Must Lead
With reference to his native Warwick, Bob Cushman makes a call applicable to all of Rhode Island’s cities and towns in varying degrees:
Those who wail and gnash their teeth in response to the governor’s proposals are more interested in playing the blame game than recognizing the reality of the situation and making the tough choices necessary to get our economy back on track. The change we need to protect the rights of taxpayers will not be easy. But it cannot even begin until our leaders recognize their complicity in this crisis and get serious about fixing things.
The simple fact is that Warwick taxpayers cannot afford another year of tax increases in this economic environment. To do so may very well force people into the streets. Delinquent property tax collections are already increasing. Tax revenues are down everywhere because people don’t have the money to spend.
It will take political leaders with the courage to confront these challenges with honesty, diligence, and a sense of shared purpose. But the first step is to stop pointing the finger of blame elsewhere. You were elected to lead. So lead. Have the courage to adopt the position of creating a more efficient government by cutting spending and pledging “no new tax increases in 2009” so all Warwick citizens can survive this economic downturn and share in the wealth of the recovery when prosperity returns.
Anchor Rising readers have likely furrowed their brows at suggestions that the governor is merely shifting the tax burden toward property taxes — forcing local governments to raise them. A whole lot of people in this state don’t want the notion that government spending can be cut to enter the public discourse. Yes, even at the town level.