Costly can-kicking in Rhode Island’s little Detroit

Mike Stenhouse
CEO, RI Center for Freedom and Prosperity
via The Daily Caller

You have to wonder if state and local officials managing the city of Woonsocket, Rhode Island — already under state oversight for their dire financial straits — are living in the real world or in the land of make believe. After all, they were all smiles as they prepared to send out supplemental tax bills that would assess a 23% local tax hike on the city’s average resident.

In the land of make believe, you deal with unsustainable levels of benefits and promises by piling more and more taxes on residents, thinking this will have little consequence. In the real world, this tax hike really hurts real people, and will likely be a death knell for the city.

In their land of make believe, this tax hike will solve the city’s past and future budget deficits. In the real world they have done little to address the structural spending problems that got them into this situation in the first place.

In the land of make believe, the tax hike can be absorbed without any significant consequence to its city’s residents. In the real world, this already devastated city will continue its death spiral as it sees even more of its people and businesses leave town or shut down, reducing its tax base even further, and putting even more financial pressure on those that remain.

In the land of make believe the fact that city of Woonsocket has recently also received national attention for its unusually high percentage of people living on food stamps and other social services was not a cause for alarm. In the real world they have made yet another policy blunder that will do nothing to help its people live independent, prosperous lives…


The article continues at The Daily Caller.


CAJ note: The article to which Mr. Stenhouse refers is at The Providence Journal:

When about 30,000 supplemental tax bills are mailed out Tuesday, it will be, city officials hope, the last major part of a five-year plan to balance the city’s books, pay off an $8.1-million deficit and stabilize the pension fund.

The supplemental tax will raise $2.5 million from multifamily residential real estate and motor vehicles, and the money will be used to balance the 2012-13 budget, which ended June 30. That assessment is also built into the 2013-14 tax rate, along with a 4-percent tax increase and a cut in the homestead exemption, which means the average homeowner in the city will see a 23-percent increase in his or her tax bill.

Taxpayers aren’t the only ones who will take a hit. The state-appointed Budget Commission, which has been running the city since May 2012, said its plan cuts $4.7 million by reducing city employee health benefits and increasing employee and retiree contributions…


Read the whole thing.


For more background read our previous articles about the city of Woonsocket.



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