Surprise — Governor Chafee Considering Tax Increases to Balance Next Year’s Budget

On the last weekday of 2011, David Klepper of the Associated Press writes what could be the least surprising news story of the year (h/t WPRO News)…

As he prepares for his second year in office, Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee is looking for ways to spur the state’s frail economy, rescue its struggling cities and eliminate another year’s budget deficit — possibly through additional taxes…
Chafee estimates that the state will face a $120 million deficit in next year’s budget. While that’s an improvement over the $300 million deficit lawmakers eliminated in the current year’s budget, Chafee says the red ink will be difficult to erase through cuts alone. He wouldn’t offer specifics but said he’s weighing the possibility of recommending some form of tax increase.
Let me take this opportunity to remind readers that both during the 2010 Rhode Island Gubernatorial campaign, and immediately after the election, I asked Governor Chafee through his campaign/transition team if he would be willing to answer a set of questions that included this one…
4.The combined state and municipal budgets for Rhode Island have grown steadily (adjusted for inflation) over the past 10 years, a period of time which includes September 11, 2001 and its immediate aftermath, the end-of-the-financial world as we knew it in 2008, and the relative lull (at least domestically) in between.
Is it by design or by accident that government has been growing as if on autopilot — or would you disagree with that characterization entirely? Compared with 10 years ago, are Rhode Islanders getting more in return for their increased spending?
The response I received, the second time I asked, was…
We do not agree with the premise of these questions.

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Patrick
10 years ago

Andrew, it might be worth asking again since I’m guessing the person who wrote the response no longer holds the same position. I’m guessing it was Trainor who gave that response.
I have no idea what was the “premise” of your questions, other than to get an idea of the incoming Governor’s tax philosophies. Maybe they were expecting some “gotcha” moment out of the questions and couldn’t quite figure it out. If that was the case, what stopped some flak from the office simply calling you for clarification or to discuss further. Instead, they simply threw up on their shoes.
Unfortunately, that seems to be par for the course with this Governor. Duck, dodge and hide when someone asks something they disagree with. Exactly how he gets his wishy-washy appearance.

Dan
Dan
10 years ago

There is a well-known trap in economics that can occur when a state is losing tax base year after year and experiencing ever-increasing budget shortfalls because its taxes are already too high. The only way out is the painful equivalent of the state gnawing off its own leg, but it’s better than irreparable economic death, which is the course Chafee and progressives are pushing with even higher taxes.

Tommy Cranston
Tommy Cranston
10 years ago

It’s a sad thing when the saner branch of government is the thoroughly corrupt, perverted and cronyist Democrat General Assembly.

Justin Katz
Justin Katz(@justin)
10 years ago

Andrew,
Oh, how I wished that response were recorded rather than emailed. What fun we could have with faux interviews:
AR: The governor’s job is to lead; what has Chafee done?
Chafee spokesman: We do not agree with the premise of these questions.
AR. The governor’s a smart guy, why doesn’t he see what’s going on?
Spokesman: We do not agree with the premise of these questions.

Patrick
10 years ago

Also interesting how Carcieri was often blasted for everything short of breathing but one thing he did do was occasionally have open office hours, and frequently did so on the radio. I’m not sure I’ve heard of the current Governor being quite so open to the citizens of Rhode Island.

Max D
Max D
10 years ago

I’m sure his handlers cringe anytime he gets near a microphone or media person. Things have kinda’ slowed down for the governor so he’s probably just trying to find more people to piss off.
“Today, I ask all Rhode Islanders to join me in boldly reaffirming Roger Williams’ vision of a “civil state” … a vibrant, diverse community that is free of political, cultural and ethnic division.”
Chafee at his inaugural speech
How’s that working out?

joe bernstein
joe bernstein
10 years ago

Carcieri,whether you liked him or not,didn’t lack the spine to take all comers when he was on radio.
You didn’t have to like his answer,but you’d get one.
chafee is a spastic turd with a minimally functioning brain.

bob
bob
10 years ago

spineless piece of pond scum will get slammed again when he tries his tax increase.
2013 he will try again
2014 he will try again
2015 he will be shoeing horses or at least trying!

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