Governor Raimondo’s “Blank Check”

justin-katz-avatar-smiling

Most of the debate about the so-called “Taylor Swift Tax” on high-end second homes in Rhode Island has centered around whether the language of the legislation would rope in the owners of multifamily rental properties.  The governor has insisted that’s not the intent, but as I argued at the beginning of the debate, the legislation is objectionable fundamentally, by its insistence that buying and holding property for one’s own use is a “privilege” that the state can tax separately from ownership.

Given national coverage, the most significant thing about the tax appears to be that it’s gained the nickname of a pop star who recently bought a summer mansion in the state.  And for similar reasons, how could there not be a Rhode Island-focused parody song?

At least as far as I’ve seen, nobody else has stepped forward to take on that responsibility.  So, I give you “Blank Check,” to the tune of Ms. Swift’s song “Blank Space.”  (Thanks to Sing King Karaoke for saving me hours of figuring out how arrange a song like this for piano only, as I usually do.)


(Click here to download the mp3 file if the Flash player doesn’t work.)

Blank Check

Welcome home, where you been?
Winter here has been so long
Leaving this house is a sin
See it here, and we think:
“Golly gee, look at this place
That assessment’s a disgrace”
Taxing games can fix that mistake… ache

You are only here part time
You don’t feed our appetite
When you hear the door chime
We’ll take a look inside
It’s not unfair, it’s worth a shot
Like gambling houses and legalized pot
Grab your check book, that’s a start
Finding new cash is a politician’s true art

Our budget’s in the billions, as in millions with a “b”
We may not educate your childrens, but your house is by the sea
Ask any economist, he’ll tell you we’re insane
But you know we love taxpayers, like hunters love game

Cause our spending is reckless, we’ll tax you to the sky
And our legal system’s feckless, though our expats don’t know why
Ask any economist, she’ll tell you we’re insane
But we’ve got a blank check, baby, and we’ll sign your name

It’s a privilege, can’t you see
To have this perfect paradise
In the bill, on line twenty,
“Non-owner occupied”
Owning land is a franchise
You will profit when someone buys
We let you keep it, it’s not a right… oh, wait

Average people own land, too
Why let those leeches off the hook?
They won’t pay as much as you
But there are more of them
What a treasure we have found
A money tree built on the ground
More will come when your group leaves
Town council nightmare’s the governor’s daydream

Our budget’s in the billions, as in millions with a “b”
We may not educate your childrens, but your house is by the sea
Ask any economist, he’ll tell you we’re insane
But you know we love taxpayers, like hunters love game

Cause our spending is reckless, we’ll tax you to the sky
And our legal system’s feckless, though our expats don’t know why
Ask any economist, she’ll tell you we’re insane
But we’ve got a blank check, baby, and we’ll sign your name

Rhode Island’s done this since Berlin’s fall
You saw the writing on the wall
Rhode Island’s done this since Berlin’s fall
You saw the writing on the wall



  • Tommy Cranston

    Too funny!

  • Monique Chartier

    AWESOME!

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