Why RI Is Driving Out the Hushions

Jennifer Hushion submitted an op-ed to the Ocean State Current explaining why the City of Cranston and the state of Rhode Island are pushing her family toward the door:

The economic climate in Rhode Island — and specifically Cranston — is why we are considering leaving. It’s not that we are necessarily against higher taxes; we are against higher taxes when we receive so little in the way of services. Even more important to us than our current situation is the outlook for the future. Unfunded pension commitments and budget deficits are burying Cranston, and my family only sees the situation getting worse. …
I can understand why one might think that those who make over $250,000 are 'rich.' We have worked very hard and are grateful for what we have, but the math is undeniable. Spend 30% of taxable income on private education because of local schools’ inadequacy, pay another 10-15% in state property and income taxes, put another 15% away for a retirement that is slipping away, and being “rich” means driving an 11-year-old car and postponing badly needed household repairs.

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Warrington Faust
Warrington Faust
10 years ago

Tom Wolfe’s “Bonfire of the Vanities” begins with an investment banker walking through Manhatten. He is thinking how his income disappears with the cost of living in New York.

Dan
Dan
10 years ago

The question “what am I paying for” should be rationally considered by every person left in Rhode Island at some point. High sales tax, high property tax, high corporate tax, high this tax, high that tax – and for what – junk schools, junk infrastructure, junk services, and every form of welfare imaginable for people to sit home all day, i.e. the progressive social experiment. $250k household income doesn’t mean much when you’re putting 2-3 kids through k-12 private education on top of astronomically expensive public education for everyone else.
In Virginia we pay low, reasonable taxes and get phenomenal public services. We all know you can’t get something for nothing, so what do we give up to achieve this? No closed shop unions, strictly controlled and monitored unemployment benefits, strictly controlled and monitored disability, and modest compensation for public employees. I can live with all that, and I can confirm that the trains do run on time.

Russ
Russ
10 years ago

What you don’t mention is that this letter is from the parent of a dyslexic child and that much of her letter is about the “inadequacy” of public schools for those kids. It’s a special case, and not the indictment of the entire system that you imply by editing out everything about dyslexia with an internal elipse.
That’s underhanded Justin, especially when you attach Jen’s name to it (a friend btw). Would that you cared as much about dyslexic kids as you do about advancing your anti-tax agenda. Although I should note that Jen’s point about the impact of disallowing itemized deductions on families with large medical expenses is well taken (my kids are also dyslexic).

Justin Katz
Justin Katz
10 years ago

Russ,
Anybody who doesn’t have your overwhelming bad faith will see that this post and the blockquote that it contains are intended to direct readers to the op-ed and offer a short explanation of what they’ll find there… and that short explanation clearly includes the significance of the private education bill.
Moreover, I fail to see how one can read Mrs. Hushion’s letter and not see it as an indictment of the “entire” RI system. Here’s another brief quotation: “The economic climate in Rhode Island — and specifically Cranston — is why we are considering leaving. It’s not that we are necessarily against higher taxes; we are against higher taxes when we receive so little in the way of services. Even more important to us than our current situation is the outlook for the future.”

Russ
Russ
10 years ago

That’s not another brief quotation; it’s the same one! Posting it twice doesn’t make it any more convincing, Justin.

Dan
Dan
10 years ago

Russ – Every child is a special circumstance to some parent. Most of the problems she identifies in her letter are universal to RI taxpayers. It’s ironic that you accuse Justin of selective focus when you laser in on the one aspect of her story that is not universal and pretend that it is the entire point of the letter. Even if her child was not dyslexic, and excluding the obvious question of why the already extraordinary amount of money spent on public school IEP children gets such poor results, it would not affect the overall message that they are getting a poor return on their investment in the state. What Justin quotes is called a topic sentence, and he is right to repeat it because you ignored it the first time.
Maybe you could ask your “friend” if she was making a narrow point about adequate public funding for the education of dyslexic children. But that would imply that you didn’t already know the answer that is right in front of you if you only cared enough to read her words. Intellectual dishonesty is just par for the course with you, unfortunately.

Warrington Faust
Warrington Faust
10 years ago

The real killer mentioned here is private school tuition (don’t you care about your kid?)
I haven’t paid it since the 90’s,when it was about $19,000. I just checked (Buckingham, Browne & Nichols), it is now $36,000. So, what does one kid do to a 100K income? Fageddaboutit!

Dan
Dan
10 years ago

I don’t have any learning disabilities and my parents sacrificed a lot to send me to private school in Rhode Island. Why? Pure necessity. The local public high school was horrible – a daytime prison to contain kids. They didn’t offer anywhere near the amount of honors and AP courses I would need to get into a good college. I went to RI public school in middle school and I literally completed all of my homework each day – for the honors program – on the 10-minute bus ride to school in the morning. Some days I wouldn’t even do my homework and I still got straight A’s by completing the assignments when class was “starting up” in the morning. It also helped when every other day I had multiple “study halls” due to teacher absences. We had quite enough of that experience.

Russ
Russ
10 years ago

Dan, I focused in on that “one aspect of her story that is not universal” because she mentions that it’s the most significant (“Our biggest expense by far is our son’s education”) and because as a parent of dyslexic kids I understand exactly what that’s like. People with large medical expenses aren’t as rich as those without them. That’s why it’s important to look at adjusted income for tax purposes. I couldn’t agree more.
As for excluding the “obvious question,” we should talk about that. But that’s the part that Justin thought we didn’t need to know.

Tommy Cranston
Tommy Cranston
10 years ago

She makes valid points but to hear her whining poor mouth grates on those of us trying to survive Cranston’s brutal property taxes on less than a fifth of her income.

Jennifer Hushion
Jennifer Hushion
10 years ago

Wow, gentleman, I get the feeling you have crossed swords before . . . Russ, although I have never met Justin I believe I should come to his defense here. He did not substantially edit any of my comments regarding dyslexics in the RI school system. I was writing about our experience only, although judging by the number of emails I’ve received today many others are in the same boat. The fact is that our son was already attending private school (The French American School) before he was diagnosed with dyslexia, and the truth is I could not fault any parent in Cranston who chose to send their child to private school. If you look at the NECAP scores for Park View Middle school and Cranston East High School, I can understand why a parent would choose a private school over these two local options.
Let me reiterate, that I am not necessarily against higher taxes, the continuing disparity of wealth in this country disturbs me greatly. Don’t forget that I am originally Canadian; I would gladly pay higher taxes for universal healthcare access. In fact, the lack of healthcare access for low- to- middle income families is something my husband, an ER doctor, deals with every day. What we do strongly object to is the amount of taxes we pay for the extremely limited services we get in return and we don’t see this situation improving because Cranston is locked into so many long-term pension contracts.

Warrington Faust
Warrington Faust
10 years ago

Dan writes:
“I literally completed all of my homework each day – for the honors program – on the 10-minute bus ride to school in the morning.”
That explains something to me. Every ghetto kid killed, who isn’t “getting his life back together”, is an “honor student”

Russ
Russ
10 years ago

“Let me reiterate, that I am not necessarily against higher taxes, the continuing disparity of wealth in this country disturbs me greatly.”
And yet you appear to be arguing that working class retirees (the lucky few) need to take it on the chin to protect struggling physicians. Kind of lost me there.
We can at least agree that not considering deductions to income will adversely affect many on the margins.

Justin Katz
Justin Katz
10 years ago

Working class retirees who get double-and-a-half time for the difficult work of being retired?
oceanstatecurrent.com/investigative-report/cranston-police-and-fire-retirees-receiving-459-on-holidays/
Political ping-pong aside, Russ, you continue to miss the point. Folks in the Hushions’ position don’t need your “protection.” They will make the decisions that they deem necessary to protect what is important to them, and it’s not cars and new cabinets. It’s education and plans for the future.

Russ
Russ
10 years ago

“You continue to miss the point. Folks in the Hushions’ position don’t need your ‘protection.'”
Justin, I’d venture to say I understand their position better than most. We have quite a bit in common, and I’m treading a bit lightly because we really are friends.
To your point, perhaps you’d prefer if I had said “to benefit.”

snow
snow
10 years ago

Dan, Classical High School ( a public school in Providence) has many more AP classes than any other high school, private or public, in the entire state!

Dan
Dan
10 years ago

Snow – Classical is a magnet school, which I support and progressives tend to not like. Alas, I did not live in Providence.

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