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Speaker Mattiello, Why Give Gina Raimondo’s Political Career An Enormous Boost Via Tolls?

Dear Speaker Mattiello:

I listened with interest to your interview yesterday morning on WPRO with Gene Valicenti in which you said that you support “a” toll plan.

We won’t linger on the reasons why a toll, of any amount, on any vehicle, would be a really bad idea economically and politically for everyone in the state (except Governor Raimondo). Economically bad: it would drag down the state’s economy by adding to the cost of living, it would exacerbate the state’s business climate and it would be remarkably wasteful as half of the revenue would be completely squandered on interest and gantries. (You should be aware, by the way, that the REMI study produced earlier this month at Governor Raimondo’s order is viewed by everyone with any intelligence as completely skewed and its conclusion as derisively unbelievable.) Politically unwise – Tolls are astonishingly unpopular, as witnessed by the public uproar over the attempt, last year, to toll just one bridge way off in a corner of East Bay. Tolls would be used like a cudgel next year against every legislator who votes for them.

But important as all of that is, it is secondary to the main issue that I would put to you. Tolls would enormously benefit one person and one person only: Governor Gina Raimondo. You have undoubtedly heard the rumors that she will seek higher office rather than re-election in three years. Whatever her plans, whether she seeks the political promotion in three years or seven, if a toll plan of any kind is implemented, her political career – and no one else’s – would receive a gigantic boost, financial and otherwise, as hundreds of millions of dollars in a construction surge would turn the members of certain trades unions into her adoring slaves and contributions – some of them from the tolls themselves in the form of wages! – would flow lavishly into her campaign coffers from those unions and their members. Is there any question that this, in turn, would expand into support from national unions as the governor moves on politically from Rhode Island?

Forgive me for being direct here, Mr. Speaker. Why would you permit this to happen at every other Rhode Islander’s expense? Even stipulating for a moment that one or two other officials may benefit in a mild way from a toll plan, such a benefit would be utterly dwarfed by the out-sized boost to Governor Raimondo and her political career. It is impossible to believe, sir, that you are a supporter of Governor Raimondo’s political career to the point that you would facilitate such an enormous boon to it, to the corresponding detriment of the state.

Thank you for any consideration you might give to this matter.


Monique Chartier


Today’s Bias Technique by the Tommy FlanAAAgan of Journalism, PolitiFactRI: Choose Carefully the Statement to be Rated

PolitiFactRI is so obviously biased and has made so many blatantly wrong ratings that flew in the face of plain truth that, for me, it has achieved the status of a pathological liar. So I wonder sometimes whether it is even worth calling them out. You don’t bother to call out a pathological liar, you simply ignore everything he says because he has no credibility.

But then I remember that they have as a platform the state’s largest newspaper, the Providence Journal, which inexplicably continues to damage its own reputation for accuracy, perpetuate serious misinformation, promote bad government policies and squander valuable journalistic resources by hosting a mini-Pravda.

With that reminder, then, let’s take a look at today’s rating and the bias therein.


F.A.I.R.? Illegal Immigration Costs Rhode Island $278 Million Annually As of Data from 2009

As you know, Rhode Island was recently classified as one of only two sanctuary states in the country, a disturbing revelation and a costly situation. The figure of just how costly it is to state and local taxpayers popped up yesterday in the course of some related research. F.A.I.R., the Federation for American Immigration Reform, places the cost to Rhode Island of illegal immigration at $278 million per year in 2009.

Think of that. Because state officials have so far declined to implement some very reasonable, simple measures to discourage illegal immigration into the state but have implemented policies that actually encourage it, Rhode Island is needlessly spending an estimated $278 million per year.


Updated – Terrible Tolls Would be a Win-Win for Governor Raimondo and a Lose-Lose for Rhode Island

From the wow-that-didn’t-take-long department, the Providence Journal’s Kathy Gregg, in a piece of kick-butt journalism yesterday, reports that the tolling of all vehicles is now on the table as an option. It seems that, at Speaker Mattiello’s suggestion, Governor Gina Raimondo is carrying out an “economic analysis”.

In recent months, the administration also commissioned an “economic analysis” of Raimondo’s truck-toll plan and a variety of other possible revenue-raising options that could, potentially, include: other new “user-fees,” gas taxes and a revived effort to toll all vehicles — not just big trucks — on Route 95 near the Connecticut border.