Woonsocket taxpayers are angry and they have good reason to be. They are faced with steep property tax increases in the triple-barrel form of a supplemental tax bill, already dispatched; reduction of the homestead exemption; and a tax rate increase at the 4% state maximum every year for the next … four years? five?
Accordingly, the incumbent mayor, Leo Fontaine, along with sitting council members, may have a tough time getting re-elected next month.
The main challenger to Mayor Fontaine, Representative Lisa Baldelli-Hunt (D), may well ride that anger into the mayor’s office. It is important to note, however, that she has not been an innocent by-stander in the tax pain that has been inflicted on Woonsocket taxpayers. After publicly and tearfully torpedoing the supplemental tax bill in the General Assembly in 2012, she became its primary sponsor this year. (Thanks to Andrew Morse for supplying the link to the bill.) More on the final supplemental tax bill here by the Pawtucket Times’ excellent Jim Baron.
GV: You wouldn’t make a pled … you wouldn’t make a statement as bold as saying, “Under Mayor Baldelli-Hunt, those tax hikes will not go through”.
LBH: No, I wouldn’t do that. Because, because, Gene, we really don’t know the truth about what’s happening within the walls of City Hall.
During the campaign, Baldelli-Hunt has repeatedly talked about taking Woonsocket in a “new direction”. In how much of a new direction could a facilitator of a large part of these tax hikes take the city?