A Week of Thoughts

This week, Governor Chafee proposed a 1-2 point increase on the tax paid at restaurants. He said this increase will go to help the schools in the state. Really? Wasn’t the purpose of bringing a lottery to the state to help the schools? Wasn’t the gas tax supposed to be for the roads and bridges? This “earmarking” does not exist. It all goes into the state’s general fund and then the Assembly decides how much to give to each department. Don’t fall for the “it’ll go to the schools” argument again.
This week, Anthony Gemma jumped into the fray of helping to better inform the voters of Providence and Rhode Island about what role the former mayor and current Congressman played in the city’s financial demise. Gemma claimed that he will hold Cicilline accountable. My question is “are you in or are you out?”
This week’s Valley Breeze contained an article about the RI Tobacco Control Network who gave RI a grade of an F for “adequately funding proven tobacco prevention and cessation programs.” The state isn’t properly funding campaigns to discourage people from smoking. Wouldn’t it be nice if RI had like a billion dollars for anti-smoking campaigns that didn’t cost the taxpayers anything? Oh wait, that’s right, we did. We used it to plug holes in the budget and pay things like pensions.
It’s too late to make a prediction on the Super Bowl, so how about a prediction on the next mayor of Central Falls, if and when things get cleaned up there. I’ll put my money on city councilman James Diossa.
This week, the FBI and Scotland Yard put together a conference call to discuss future strategy and leads they had on the Anonymous hackers group. The only problem is that members of Anonymous were also on the call. Whoops. Some high tech hack to break into the phone system? No. One of the officers forwarded the call information to his personal email box. Systems like gmail or hotmail can be less secure than government or other corporate mail systems. Plus, don’t choose dumb and easy passwords. Things like adding a number or using a $ instead of an S isn’t any more secure.
Do you ever go out with friends and see them checking their phone for messages through dinner? Here’s a game I saw suggested. Upon arrival, everyone puts their phone in the middle of the table, face down, stacked on top of each other. If someone checks their phone, they buy dinner. Sometimes it’s just good to unplug.
Every election year, Rhode Island has millions of dollars on the ballot in spending questions. This year, Governor Chafee wants to put $201 million in spending questions up for vote. Every time, there is some group out there to advocate for each of the questions. Someone to tell us why we should be spending that money. What we really need is a group to explain the other side of the spending questions. For starters, when you vote in favor of those questions, you are increasing your tax bill. You are agreeing to pay more money for those things. They are not free. It always amazes me how easily these questions pass yet people complain about the taxes in this state. You’re doing it to yourself, people. If you want to do at least something to keep your taxes in check, don’t vote for these things.
Curt Schilling’s 38 Studios’ game, “Reckoning: Kingdoms of Amalur” will finally be released this week. The reviews are coming in good and it even appears that the game will be profitable, which would virtually eliminate all risk to Rhode Island from the $75 million in loan guarantees that the firm received.
Also in the Valley Breeze this week, publisher Tom Ward wrote about the abundance of out of state license plates in Rhode Island, possibly an attempt to avoid the car tax. There seems to be another part to this that I often notice and that is dealer’s plates. Aren’t dealer plates for test driving cars? Why do I see a woman at the local Stop & Shop loading up her car with groceries and her car adorned with dealer plates? I’m not talking about temporary plates, those are the cardboard things we see. I’ve seen other cars in similar situations around the state that don’t look anything like a test drive. Maybe it’s all legal and there are other purposes for the dealer plates. Maybe a loaner while their car is in the shop?
Are you really still surfing the internet with Internet Explorer 6? Really? Stop. Even Microsoft proclaimed that browser to be dead. You’re begging for people to take over your computer and so many web sites look horrible with it. C’mon, upgrade. Here, I’ll help you: Latest Internet Explorer or even better FireFox or even my current favorite, Chrome.
Did you see this week where even the town council in Coventry had no idea that they were running a pension system? They thought they had a defined contribution plan where the town’s commitments end upon the employee’s retirement. If you’re elected to the town council, shouldn’t you really be digging in a lot deeper to how things work? Even the town council president said “I knew nothing about this fund until last week.” Why? Shouldn’t the town council president know where every dollar is coming from and where it’s going?
Lastly, we had two seemingly unrelated stories on back to back days on the front cover of the Providence Journal. On one day, we saw that the Governor and the General Assembly wants to give its employees a 4.6% pay increase for this year and a 16.5% increase next year. All this on top of things like longevity bonuses and other merit pay. The front page story the next day was

National report finds many in Rhode Island living on the edge
Twenty percent of households lack assets to cover three months of expenses if they lose a job or face an emergency

Well, maybe they can just get a job at the State House.
Congratulations New York Giants fans. Two weeks until pitchers and catchers report.

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11 years ago

My money is on Chuckie M. You just don’t know voters, do you?

11 years ago

All good thoughts, but I’d stay away from Chrome as a browser. Google now says it not only saves everything you do, forever, but also cross-references all things to you from all devices you use.

11 years ago

Thanks Bill.
People are making a big deal about the new Google privacy policy. I don’t see the big deal. They’re not selling my information to anyone else, they’re cross-referencing this information just within Google and just for the purpose of serving up more relevant ads. That seems pretty harmless to me.

11 years ago

I like Chrome but any parents using parental controls should know that Chrome bypasses them…until I figured it out, my daughter was able to surf the web even if I had parental controls that prohibited internet access…

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