Budgeting as Usual…


With respect to the RI House’s passage of next year’s state budget, this ought to be a warning flag, not a consolation:

“Really it should have been a unanimous vote, but for politics,” added House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello, D-Cranston.

Passage in the Senate – now seen as largely a formality – is expected to happen quickly once the Senate Finance Committee meets Thursday to vote on the House-approved plan. Once approved by the full Senate, it will go to Gov. Gina Raimondo’s desk for her signature.

I really do wonder about the mindset of those who support our current political class.  Most aren’t paying attention, many because they long ago concluded that the game was rigged and would never change.  But there must be some people who support this approach to government — and not just because they’re bought into the corruption.  Although, the list of the supposedly positive changes in the budget (mainly targeted tax handouts) can just as easily be read as a list of new members of the corrupt special-interest alliance to fleece everybody else.

Sorry, retirees.  If you’re excited that the state government is going to throw you a little tax advantage, I don’t see how that’s much different than some local organization that gets a legislative grant or other handout.  Without spending reductions, the taxes you keep are taxes somebody else has to pay, just as we all now have to pay — just because they can make us do so — $200,000 to the Institute for the Study and Practice of Nonviolence.

But to return to the central question: Do those who support the status quo really think things are going fine in Rhode Island?  Or do they really think minor tweaks around business as usual will kick in for the better any day now (even as the march of investigative reports about political scandals continues)?

Or maybe we really are a bought-off society.  When you’re getting something from the corruption, it’s easy to ignore the degree to which it’s harming your neighbors and gradually strangling your state.  After all, that little sumpin sumpin you get from the deal feels like a partial repayment of the cost of the system to you and, at the same time, can hardly be said to hurt those who aren’t cut in much more than they’re already being hurt.

(Note, by the way, that Mattiello’s rhetoric about not putting federal programs on the backs of state taxpayers turned out to be just that when it came to the Office of the Health Insurance Commissioner.)

  • William B. Palazzo

    The Senate Finance Committee is Chaired by Sen. Daniel Daponte, if you recall he was best Buddies with the former Chair, Sen Stephen Alves. Both of these miscreants were the target of a complaint from the Electrical Workers Union. Attorney Joe Rodio claimed they pocketed $100,000 for doing nothing. They claimed it was a ‘finders fee’, a claim that UBS vehemently denied. We all know that neither of these gentlemen can buy a legitimate cup of coffee. Does anyone really believe that the budget can get through that committee intact? Having previously dealt with these two individuals, I seriously doubt it. Don’t take my word for it, do some research.

  • Ken

    The Rhode Island budget was passed $8.9 billion for the state which is the 50th largest state in nation by area at 1,545.05 sq. mi. in landmass. My question is where does all of it go and they even end up with a deficit each year?

    The Hawaii budget was passed $13.7 billion for the state which is the 43rd largest state in nation by area at 10,930.98 sq. mi. in landmass; a little more than 7 times the size of Rhode Island with more people in the population census 1.4 million. The Hawaii budget is based on collected
    state-wide taxes and it is a balanced budget required by state constitutional law. The Hawaii budget does not include the approximately $15.9 billion state-wide tourists pour into the state annually making it gravy funds.

    Since I moved out of Rhode Island 10 years ago I have saved $155,000 of my retirement income in cheaper cost of living and that’s not chump change!