Complicity by Inaction: Be Sure to Name the General Assembly in that Car Tax Lawsuit
Here in Rhode Island, Governor Carcieri’s administration said it is withholding the local aid payments until the General Assembly decides what to do with the governor’s midyear budget plan, which calls for third- and fourth-quarter motor-vehicle excise-tax reimbursements — a total of $66.7 million, half of it due last week — to be eliminated. …
One city — Woonsocket — went to court Friday, suing the state for not sending the $1.3 million excise-tax payment that was due Feb. 1, and Providence and the Rhode Island League of Cities and Towns say they may do the same thing this week.
The Governor proposes; the General Assembly disposes. The GA officially received the supplemental budget when they opened for business in early January; they’ve known about various revenue shortfalls since well before then. Whether to approve, modify or toss out the Governor’s proposals, they have inexplicably chosen not to act. In failing to do so, they have placed a piece of several local budgets in limbo.
Clearly, neither a sense of duty nor empathy for local governments is providing sufficient motivation at this point. For their own fiscal clarity and as a prod to action, cities and towns need to amplify the list of defendants in their lawsuit to include the party that actually holds the power in this matter.