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.)