For my weekly call-in on John DePetro’s WNRI 1380 AM/95.1 FM show, this week, the topics were Senator Kettle’s travails, Raimondo’s special fund raising deal, defining the Moderate Party, and progressive dog whistles.
Do too many instances suggest RI may have an ethically challenged Governor? Gov Gina Raimondo Faces Growing Transparency Questions As Controversy Grows Over Secret Fundraising Agreement – https://t.co/AMbyVElBBF via @the_rga
— gary sasse (@gssasse) February 20, 2018
I’ve expressed skepticism that the state Ethics Commission will see a violation in Democrat Governor Gina Raimondo’s hiring of a member of the Providence Democratic City Committee and subsequent campaign agreement with that council. In general, the commission has held the view that corruption only exists in the private sector. Maybe a political committee will count as a private sector organization under its taxonomy, but I doubt it.
Abstruse government rules aside, the agreement, which Raimondo released on the Sunday of a three-day weekend, looks really bad, mostly because of this part:
No later than January 31, 2018, the Committee will authorize Patrick Ward (“Ward”) to open the following three accounts (collectively, the “Accounts”)…
The Committee agrees that Ward shall have exclusive and plenary authority to spend, transfer, and otherwise disburse funds from the Accounts for any lawful purpose… and shall be the only signatory on the Accounts…, except that Ward may designate any other persons of his choosing to also exercise these powers. No other person’s approval will be required to authorize the spending, transfer, or disbursement of funds from the Accounts.
So, the agreement doesn’t leave the money in the control of the “committee president,” or any other such language that would give the committee as a whole ultimate control. It gives control to somebody to whom the governor recently gave a $71,608, in company with his wife’s job in the administration.
The governor insists that the agreement doesn’t establish any “master and servant” relationship, but it gives the committee as a body no control outside of one of the governor’s employees. Let’s just say that doesn’t look very good or ethical.
. @GovRaimondo keeps proposing budgets that not only take money from these programs, but also adds new taxes, fees and tolls every year. Then she spends the money pandering to insiders. #TimeforNewManagement https://t.co/TkGFNRhnjK
— Patricia Morgan (@repmorgan) February 17, 2018
— Andrew Morse (@CAndrewMorse) February 13, 2018
For my weekly call-in on John DePetro’s WNRI 1380 AM/95.1 FM show, this week, the topic was the clarity we’re getting from Providence Democrats, Rhode Island progressives, and teachers unions.
The seemingly minor travails of former Providence Democrat Chairman Patrick Ward provide a lesson in Rhode Island politics and the direction that seemingly unrelated trends are taking us.
The state is running on fumes. This has been hilighted by the budgets from the past 2 years. Relying on “scoops”, unrealistic and unfulfilled cuts in spending, and phantom sources of income. It’s time for wholesale change in the way we do things around here.
— Tim Zimmerman (@timzimm0517) February 8, 2018
The Governor has been on a hiring spree! And one with a lot of 6 figure adds! It is costing us $10 of millions more and she's not done. Requesting over 250 new FTEs in this year's budget. Her answer to unemployment statistics? Not good for taxpayers. @RICenterFreedom https://t.co/1C9WTlEic7
— Patricia Morgan (@repmorgan) February 6, 2018
Noble attempt, I think. Or is it, alternatively, to be interpreted as: send us your tired, poor, huddled masses? Is Rhode Island now to become the Statue of Dependency? I thought we were the "fun sized" state.
— Mike Stenhouse (@MSten37) February 1, 2018
— LoughlinRI1 (@LoughlinRI1) February 1, 2018
Well said, The issue is number of state PR types is in direct proportion to the lack of confidence an administration has in agency heads dealing w the media. Reporters may leave, but our mission continues – News – https://t.co/9bWUuy1Aqr – Providence, RI https://t.co/2BkFtQFtgR
— gary sasse (@gssasse) February 2, 2018
Say what? EP bridge where Raimondo campaigned in 2014, cut ribbon in 2017 and played up in 2018 State of the State already failed an asphalt test https://t.co/ME1dxDhpuR
— Ted Nesi (@TedNesi) February 2, 2018
— gary sasse (@gssasse) January 30, 2018
Yesterday’s Providence Journal “Political Scene” reminded readers about the windfall that Brown University recently paid for a house owned by Democrat Governor Gina Raimondo’s chief of staff, Brett Smiley:
In July 2017, the university purchased a two-and-a-half story, federal-style Colonial house at 37 George St. — assessed by the city at $843,600 — from Gov. Gina Raimondo’s chief-of-staff Brett Smiley and his husband, James DeRentis.
The university paid them $1.1 million, according to city records.
As I detailed in July, the price that Brown paid for the house may not be the scandal (although it’s conspicuous that Brown has plenty of reasons to want to be on the good side of Raimondo’s upper echelon). The property assessment is the oddity. Smiley’s assessment, made while he worked in the administration of Democrat Mayor Jorge Elorza, was actually 6% below what he’d paid two years earlier, even though his neighborhood generally increased in value by 20% during that period, saving him something like $4,400 per year.
Don’t forget that Smiley ran for mayor as a progressive, which is very telling of progressive thinking. They create a big-government funnel of money and power and then position themselves right at the tip.
This is just how it’s going to work until Rhode Islanders stop falling for the rhetoric and insist that government go back to working for us, not connected insiders who like to talk about supporting the oppressed.
For my weekly call-in on John DePetro’s WNRI 1380 AM/95.1 FM show, this week, the topics were the governor’s budget proposal, the March for Women, and the politics of PawSox subsidies.
Why wasn't this a priority from day 1 instead of her Taylor Swift tax and truck tolls? Wouldn't have anything to do with an election soon?? https://t.co/ft73hHnKRZ
— LoughlinRI1 (@LoughlinRI1) January 26, 2018
So where will the $$$ come from. @GovRaimondo has proposed $166 million in Medicaid cuts mostly by paying providers less to service Medicaid clients.From Alice in Wonderland, "Imagination is the only weapon in the war against reality." https://t.co/xrO8qfB8Bm
— gary sasse (@gssasse) January 24, 2018
With a mention of the questionable benefit from having wooed General Electric to Boston with $150 million in subsidies, Boston Globe columnist Jeff Jacoby argues against the crony-capitalist bribing of companies to locate within a jurisdiction:
Amazon says it is seeking to build its new home in a metropolitan area with a large population, an international airport, and good schools. But as everyone understands, it also expect to be courted with publicly-funded “incentives” — some combination of property-tax abatements, job-creation credits, direct grants, sales-tax refunds, land-acquisition assistance, and the other varieties of corporate welfare that governments have concocted to lure businesses. Amazon knows how the economic-redevelopment game is played in what The Economist calls this “sweet land of subsidy.” (Just this week, Wisconsin agreed to pay Foxconn a staggering $3 billion in subsidies to construct a flat-screen factory in the state.) If cities and states are determined to compete for Amazon’s new campus by showering it with fistfuls of taxpayer dollars, the company can’t be blamed for pocketing the largesse.
But what excuse do mayors and governors have? Again and again they spend taxpayers’ funds to woo companies in this way. Again and again the taxpayers get jilted.
Yet, this is the strategy that our Democrat governor, Gina Raimondo, wishes to expand in her recently proposed budget, including special subsidies to lower-end cronies, from students to small businesses. Under this model, the government makes it unreasonably difficult for individuals and businesses to act economically and then tries to take credit for easing the burden with subsidies… for those individuals and businesses willing to kneel before the bureaucrats and be bought into the game.
By way of a bigger-picture medicine for this hard-to-kick mental disease, I like Glenn Reynolds’s suggestion:
State tax abatements and other “incentives” should be treated as taxable income at the federal level. States should be encouraged to have low taxes for every company, not just the favored few.
As Southern New England government squeezes everybody in order to keep growing, more people will begin paying attention to what they’re having to give up.
Statement from the Center … pic.twitter.com/mytNHI1ZaT
— Mike Stenhouse (@MSten37) January 17, 2018
Don’t be fooled: When the governor promises to strengthen health care coverage, in RI, she means that she’ll force everybody to buy more expensive insurance that most of them will never need.
Ah for the days when the smart, knowledgeable people in state government were allowed – and yes, I mean, allowed – to answer media questions. Today has been an especially frustrating day. #taxquestion #roadblocks
— katherine gregg (@kathyprojo) January 8, 2018
At the Center, we know that the high levels of taxation and over-regulation forced upon the people by an ever-growing state government is the main culprit in causing Rhode Island’s weak and stagnant performance. Look at it this way, heavy handed action by a state government that primarily seeks to perpetuate itself, actually works against the best-interests of the very people it is supposed to be serving.
Early indications of the policy landscape in 2018 give the hope… and risk… of a political shakeup.
Happy New Year! In 2018, Rhode Islanders want to achieve their hopes and dreams of better life for their families. In order for the Ocean State to prosper, we need an economic climate that rewards hard work, encourages small-business growth, and creates quality jobs. In this regard, the traditionally cited monthly unemployment rate is often used by state lawmakers as a benchmark to evaluate the results of their policy initiatives. However, this rate represents only a very narrow look at the employment health of a state and can often paint an incomplete, or even inaccurate, snapshot of the broader economic picture.
I know the perfect way to bring our Rhode Island deficit down. Don't spend what you don't have! Is that not the responsible way to run a business or a household? https://t.co/zP8bwsB1x7
— Sen.Elaine J. Morgan (@Elaine4Senator) December 27, 2017