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Politics This Week with John DePetro: Not-So-Hidden Schemes

My weekly call-in on John DePetro’s WNRI 1380 AM/95.1 FM show, for April 12, included talk about:

  • Still waiting on the LG
  • McKee’s Saturday climate signing in Newport
  • The big-money RI Foundation
  • The big-money Warwick firefighter overtime
  • Voting bills
  • Providence schools still in a lurch

I’ll be on again Monday, April 19, at 12:00 p.m. on WNRI 1380 AM and I-95.1 FM.

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Politics This Week with John DePetro: RI’s Con-Game Government

My weekly call-in on John DePetro’s WNRI 1380 AM/95.1 FM show, for March 29, included talk about:

  • The Lt. Gov. final 5
  • Climate change politics
  • Kate Coyne McCoy’s threat to “moderate” Dems
  • Cranston’s new far-left Republican
  • Can the log-jam of Providence’s school system be broken up?
  • Were we wrong to doubt Mattiello as the firewall?

I’ll be on again Monday, April 5, at 12:00 p.m. on WNRI 1380 AM and I-95.1 FM.

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Tell Governor McKee To Veto Rhode Island’s Version Of The Green New Deal!

Take action now! Add your voice to the many thousands who have asked Governor Dan McKee to live up to his promises as an advocate for the small business community, to take decisive action to relieve businesses of excessive green mandates and to ensure our state’s long-term viability by VETOING Rhode Island’s Green New Deal.

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Rhody Reporter: Axe the Act – H5445

The Rhody Reporter is flabbergasted at the scope of a wildly progressive bill just passed by the RI legislature. It would cede all legislative and executive prerogative on RI carbon emissions to an unelected state commission. Mark Zaccaria explains en route to asking everyone to call the governor and beg for a veto!

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Politics This Week with John DePetro: Bad Bills and Employment Theater

My weekly call-in on John DePetro’s WNRI 1380 AM/95.1 FM show, for March 22, included talk about:

  • Bad environmental legislation
  • Bad firearms legislation
  • Bad voting legislation
  • A telling Newsmakers interview
  • No confidence in the teachers’ union
  • A phony lieutenant governor top 10

I’ll be on again Monday, March 29, at 12:00 p.m. on WNRI 1380 AM and I-95.1 FM.

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Say NO to Radical Energy Scheme Rocketing Through The General Assembly

A full on assault against the average Rhode Island family is rocketing through the General Assembly. The Ocean State is quickly moving to put our own version of the Green New Deal into law. We need you to take action immediately to voice your opposition to it, before it is too late. Click here now to say NO to this far-left radical scheme from the land of make-believe.

This, along with the TCI Gas Tax, will paralyze our state. As we struggle to recover from the pandemic, it should be inconceivable that state lawmakers would choose NOW to consider an additional 30-40 cents per gallon gas tax increase or impose a radical, prohibitively expensive energy scheme.

Yet, the price of gasoline could soon rise (even more than it already has) if a new stealth carbon-tax scheme – the TCI Gas Tax – is implemented … a move that would necessarily increase costs on families and business, driving more people out of our state. The House of Representatives will vote on House Bill 5445 this Tuesday. This version of the state’s green new deal has already passed the RI Senate.

Even if you have contacted lawmakers already, we need you to take action again to oppose RI’s Green New Deal: Click here to contact lawmakers to say NO to the TCI Gas Tax and H5445, Rhode Island’s Green New Deal!

The simple form, once completed, will automatically send an email to the Governor and to legislative leaders telling them to reject the regional gasoline cap-and-trade scheme and RI’s Green New Deal.

Tell them today that you stand against these radical energy schemes. Thank you for taking action, and remember that your voice counts.

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House Vote Tuesday – Would Inflict Extremest Global Warming Measure on RI

On Tuesday, the Rhode Island House will be voting on H5445A. It would mandate the reduction to zero of greenhouse gases in Rhode Island. While the deadline in the bill is 2050, the real deadline is five years from now, at which point, the lawsuits can start. From the bill:

The Rhode Island attorney general, any Rhode Island resident and any Rhode Island corporation, company, organization, nonprofit or other Rhode Island legal entity or organization registered with the Rhode Island secretary of state may bring a civil action to enforce this chapter.

Click here, courtesy UpriseRI, for the case in favor of the bill.

Nowhere in that article or anywhere has there been offered any science or evidence that this most drastic of measures would have any impact whatsoever on global warming nor has there been remotely adequate disclosure about the ludicrous cost of bringing it about (converting every house and building in the state to electric-only heating and AC) or the impact on our power supply of changing the grid over from a reliable, constant fuel source to an unreliable, intermittent one (routine rolling blackouts) while simultaneously adding enormous demand to it or the impact (sky-rocket) on residents’ and businesses’ electric bills of being compelled to purchase power only from renewable energy sources.

In the presumably deliberate absence of this information, accordingly, combined with our observation of the experience of other states who converted even a small portion of their grid to renewables, we can assume the worst on all of those fronts.

If you, like so many of us, do not think this is a good idea, feel free to share your concerns with your state representative before Tuesday.

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Rhody Reporter: Charter Schools Bill 2

Down with charter schools! Is the Rhode Island state legislature waging war on the growing number of charter schools here in the Ocean State? If it is, could the reason be to aid their friends in the state teachers’ unions, even if at the expense of the constituents who elected all its members? You be the judge. Mark Zaccaria lays out the case and makes a summation.

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Summer Budget Battle: Status Quo Approach Will Not Work

Enough is enough. For too long, the political class has taken more than what they needed from hard-working Rhode Island families and businesses. The chosen few have benefited from the broken insider system, while the rest of us have suffered. Now, Rhode Island lawmakers will return this summer, and decide the fate of our state for a century to come.

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Larry Fitzmorris: Portsmouth Looks to Raise Taxes Over 4% With Unemployment Over 15%

The budget for next year is one of the worst produced in the last twenty years. This budget is characterized by the Council’s complete lack of interest in reducing costs to prepare for the economic downturn and its continuing emphasis on the growth of Town government. In fact, the only changes over a routine year are using the Fund Balance to provide revenue for routine spending and to cover any shortfalls in State funding. Currently the budget is at the Provisional stage and there are further votes, but significant changes after this point are rare.

The budget that begins next July 1 has a residential property tax increase of 4.43% at a time when the unemployment rates for Portsmouth taxpayers are probably at least 16%.

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Time for Government to Pop the Superficial and Focus on What’s Important

Being in the car less, recently, I’ve fallen behind on podcast listening, so the episode of Changing Gears to which I listened while working out last night was a few weeks old.  The guys were explaining the various reasons (having to do with materials, labor, and politics) that Rhode Island’s roads don’t last.

Not long afterwards, I was back at the computer and thinking (again) how far Internet technology has come in the past year… when the power went out.  All the Zooming, podcasting, on-demand streaming, and other innovations that this viral crisis has made so critical to basic life fell of the table of social organization in an instant.  On a clear night, the flow of electricity just stopped.

Growing up, I don’t remember ever losing power when the weather didn’t provide an obvious explanation, and it seems to be becoming more common in recent years.  Every time it happens, I can hear a few more generators running, as my neighborhood adapts to this new reality over time.

While the world has been substantially shut down, I’ve also been catching up on reading legislation that managed to receive floor votes.  Here’s one to ban disposable plastic shopping bags, and I note the news today that San Francisco has now banned reusable shopping bags to prevent spread of COVID-19.  Another bill that didn’t manage to get a vote in the innocent days before the pandemic (House, Senate) would have criminalized the intentional release of balloons into the air.

Yes, while a virus was spreading around the planet bringing death and economic ruin, Rhode Island legislators were pondering a bill titled “Relating to Health and Safety – Balloons.”

Whether we’re talking about the roads or the power grid or the budgetary desperation we’re hearing from our elected officials, the message ought to be clear:  Rhode Island has to get back to basics.  Stop worrying about balloons.  Stop micromanaging the economy.  Stop confiscating tax money from people in order to fund superfluous things or pet projects.

This crisis is illustrating the necessity of government for a variety of functions, but it is also proving the need for government to do those critical things well.  And that means focusing on them, including a halt to the drain of taxpayer money to things that just shouldn’t be priorities.  Both basic government functions and private-sector activity are more important.

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McNamara’s Bid to Make Others Pay for His Heroism

The legislative proposal by Warwick/Cranston Democrat state representative Joseph McNamara has made the news rounds, but it deserves a stronger point to be made.  The press release says he’s “drafting new legislation that would help businesses hit hard by the COVID-19 crisis by guaranteeing that business interruption insurance would cover their losses regardless of policy language.”

It’s kind of a dishonest move.  Insurance companies charge their clients rates based on the risk involved in their policies.  These charges go toward a fund to cover the estimated payouts based on the risk for each thing that’s insured.  There is competition in insurance just as there is in every other private-sector market, so companies can’t charge fees that are so high they’re disconnected from this relationship to payouts.

If the General Assembly and governor pass a law that requires insurance companies to pay for events that were deliberately left out of the calculation of risk, the insurance companies will have to find that money somewhere.  One way or another, that means distributing the cost among other clients.  The complications of reinsurance (insurance for unexpected insurance payouts), do not change this fundamental fact; they just mean the spread is broader.

If government officials want to insure Rhode Island businesses against a loss during a crisis, they should do it the more-honest way of using government funds.  The legislature and governor should make the statement that this is a worthwhile priority and will therefore either displace lesser priorities or require tax increases.

Of course, cost comes at a political price, which politicians prefer to avoid.  Thus, these sorts of mandates that make other people pay for government policies (aka hidden taxes) ensure that the McNamaras of the state can pat themselves on the back for giving away money while hiding the fact that it has to come from somebody.