Myopia Versus the Long View in Rhode Island

Self-described newcomer to local politics, Brian Gough, has a letter on the Sakonnet Times Web site criticizing reformers’ efforts. Individuals’ understanding of the appropriate actions of elected representatives, particularly those in leadership roles, may vary, and differences of opinion aren’t necessarily worth the expenditure of much heat. But Mr. Gough’s snap assessment of the sides makes an egregious error:

The level of passion behind the actions taken at this meeting was apparent. I am a realist, and quickly did the math. I realize the impact of a small group’s efforts to push their agenda is minimal in the short term but the impact on our long term financial viability is extreme. They are selling us out for a short-term reduction in our taxes, and willing to risk our long-term values (home value, bond viability, etc.) Based on this, I must question whether I am a short- or long-term resident of this town. The answer is easy, I am here for the long term, and based on this, I will focus my energy on what will help all of us for the long term.

Members of Tiverton Citizens for Change, as the most local representatives of our broader movement, take a very long view of the actions and the changes necessary to renew our town, our state, and our nation. Those who think we see each cut in terms of its immediate affect on our tax bills miss the point and are likely to stop following the thread before they’ve come to the real structural problems that we’re trying to address.

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Mario
Mario
12 years ago

Mr. Gough’s letter doesn’t really make sense. Cutting taxes alone does nothing to harm the long-term financial viability of an entity, as long as there is no poorly thought out “Paiva-Weed”-type restrictions attached. Spending money, on the other hand, can easily harm the long-term prospects of an entity, since it will inevitably be attached to contracts, interest groups, etc. If the town needs higher taxes to pay off its debts, it will always have the option to raise them, regardless of how low taxes are in the meantime.

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