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Woonsocket: How Tax Equity Can Reduce Local Burden

Woonsocket can't bear the burden any more. Come to Cercle Laurier tonight at 5:30 pm to see what state aid can do.

There’s no debate about it, Woonsocket, and many other distressed communities, are in trouble. However, while the residents wait for the General Assembly to vote on whether they can issue a supplemental tax bill, there are other measures on the calendar on Smith Hill that could also help the city’s already maxed-out  taxpayers.

Tonight (Monday, May 14) at 5:30 pm in Cercle Laurier, 165 E. School St., residents can come learn how the tax equity bills, making their way through the House an Senate in the form of  H-7729 and S-2622, can raise $131 milllion in revenue; and how that revenue should be targeted to providing relief to distressed cities and towns, like Woonsocket.

While our elected officials continue to give massive tax breaks to Rhode Island’s wealthiest citizens and corporations, and Woonsocket Rep. Jon Brien and Sen. Marc Cote defend these breaks,  lower and middle income Rhode Islanders are struggling to feed their families.

It’s time for people making over $250K/year to pay their fair share and help the middle class–because a strong middle class means more spending and more jobs in local communities. Come to the meeting and help convince Rep. Brien and Sen. Cote top sign onto the tax equity bills, Woonsocket would greatly benefit by your actions.

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Baywatch May 14, 2012 at 06:57 PM
Has any actual analysis ben performed on the fficacy of this approach or is it simply more knee-jerk rhetoric? How much revenue are we speaking of, I can't imagine that it would amount to very much. What exactly does "fair share" mean, why do people use this term without any attempt at all to quantify if?
James Thomas May 14, 2012 at 07:39 PM
First, before I answer your question, I have a question for you. Why is it, that people such as yourself, always feel the need to classify others as "you people," when you perceive a possible difference in opinion or approach to a problem? Now, onto your question. A fiscal note prepared by the budget office at the General Assembly estimated the bill, if passed as presented, would generate $131 million in revenue. This particular bill would restore the tax rate to where it was in 2006 for people making more than $250,000 a year. Now, instead of getting the discounted rate of 5.99%, anyone making more than $250,000 would have to go back to paying 9.99% annually. As for the question of "fair share," the top 2% of wage-earners in Rhode Island pay an effective tax rate of 5.99% while the remaining 98% pay anywhere from 8.1-11.9% effective rates. (That includes sales,property, and income taxes paid.)
James Thomas May 14, 2012 at 07:41 PM
First, before I answer your question, I have a question for you. Why is it, that people such as yourself, always feel the need to classify others as "you people," when you perceive a possible difference in opinion or approach to a problem? Now, onto your question. A fiscal note prepared by the budget office at the General Assembly estimated the bill, if passed as presented, would generate $131 million in revenue. This particular bill would restore the tax rate to where it was in 2006 for people making more than $250,000 a year, when they got a bill passed that gave them a flat tax. Now, instead of getting the discounted rate of 5.99%, anyone making more than $250,000 would have to go back to paying 9.99% annually. As for the question of "fair share," the top 2% of wage-earners in Rhode Island pay an effective tax rate of 5.99% while the remaining 98% pay anywhere from 8.1-11.9% effective rates. (That includes sales,property, and income taxes paid.)
The Chorus May 14, 2012 at 07:53 PM
James - who used the term "you people"?
James Thomas May 14, 2012 at 08:00 PM
I'm sorry, "Chorus," but when I first read Baywatch's comment, I could have sworn it said, "you people." I don't think I read that wrong, I used to be a news editor but if I did and the comment wasn't modified, I'm very sorry.
The Chorus May 14, 2012 at 08:53 PM
No worries...when I read it quick I thought the same thing...thanks
Steve May 14, 2012 at 09:38 PM
Great, idea, continue the class warfare that our illustrious president is manifesting on the country. Sooner or later, RI will be a ghost town just like good ole' California! Here's a hint, they/we Americans already pay enough taxes, what's next, people earning $200,000, $150,000, $125,000? Where do you draw your "Tax the people that actually work for a living and employe other folks" line? It's the other 45 - 50% that pay nothing that is the real problem! Wake up will ya! This type of legislation makes me sick!!!!!
Tommy Tutone May 15, 2012 at 11:13 AM
Gotta agree with Steve here,the State can shut off the funding spigot any time it wants,what's here today can be gone tomorrow.They've got to cut spending,there is (sadly) no where else to go.
Tired Tax Payer May 15, 2012 at 02:05 PM
God,I hate this city more everyday! I'm wondering why our properties got assesed alot lower. How is that going to create more revinue? I can't see a tax rate increase that dramatic to level it out to what it was. I'm thinking the homestead will be gone even though they threatened not to go with a recievership for fear of losing the exemption. I think the city council will beat us down more than the state would...
Mike May 16, 2012 at 02:54 PM
Not to be cruel, but if you actually thought about it you'd know why your assessments are decreasing. A shrinking tax base, poor schools, and rising taxes make this town less attractive; fewer buyers mean lower housing prices = lower assessments. Blaming the Mayor and the TC who are dealing with these realities may make you feel better, but doesn't solve the problem. The State has less concern with you than your elected leaders....
Lilian May 16, 2012 at 03:16 PM
How about welfare reform to fix some of these issues, then maybe our tax dollars could go to education instead of welfare and these people could stop living off the system.
English first May 16, 2012 at 03:40 PM
Wow this is the jackpot of information about the city of Woonsocket. Unfortunately it is from 2010. http://www.city-data.com/city/Woonsocket-Rhode-Island.html
James Thomas May 16, 2012 at 03:55 PM
Steve, if anyone started class warfare, it wasn't the working class. The highest income earners have been using their money and influence for years to pass legislation instrumental to keeping more and more of their money and paying for lawyers and accountants to find loopholes in the IRS code big enough to drive Mack trucks through. Look at the income data for the last 25 years, the middle class has seen their wages stagnate while the rich get richer at every turn. And if you have knowledge of 45-50% of people paying nothing, look at who they are, they are the people at the top of the tax brackets, not the working class.
James Thomas May 16, 2012 at 04:15 PM
Lillian, I believe the greatest percentage of people, "living off the system," would rightly be classified as the elderly living in subsidized housing and collecting social security. For all the complaining people do on these comment boards, they fail to realize that all the elderly high rise buildings house people not paying taxes or contributing anything financially to the city while at the same time creating a huge drain on city services. Compared to the immigrant population, the spending on public assistance (which isn't all to members of the minority community, as some here would have you believe) is only $3.98 per resident of the city. The city was badly managed for years with the former mayor using a strategy of no tax increases as a means of getting re-elected. Now the current administration is forced to deal with the mess. That's why I don't understand how they can't be behind any method of finding a new revenue stream. There's no way the city can cut enough in the budget to save itself from having to issue a supplemental tax bill. However, if they got behind the idea of a "tax the rich" bill, they'd show their constituents they are looking for ways to solve the problem and are willing to go after the people most able to afford it. Not supporting a tax equity measure will play badly in coming elections and shows that not only are the mayor, council and school committee not good at math but aren't very good at politics either.
Steve May 16, 2012 at 04:43 PM
Become enlightened sir, the truth shall set you free: Many in the non-tax group are lower income earners, but many middle-class taxpayers also benefit under our tax code. Maybe we don't end up zeroing out our tax bill, but we definitely use the system to trim our taxes as much as possible. http://money.msn.com/tax-tips/post.aspx?post=292d620a-6459-4381-a22b-f3b59dc64ff8 http://dmarron.com/2011/07/27/why-do-half-of-americans-pay-no-federal-income-tax/ And before you go dumping on folks on Social Security, seems to me that they may have put in to SS therefore they can collect benefits right? Hmmm. contrubute to SS and pay taxes for 40+ years before retiring, gee, what a concept. And your definition of someone or a married couple making $250,000 a year and classifying them as "Rich" is laughable as well. You obviuosly don't have children, a home, a car, or probably much else in your life. Time to go occupy somewhere now? Redistribution of wealth, what a concept!
James Thomas May 16, 2012 at 04:53 PM
Using info from the Tax Foundation? Steve, stop spouting what you hear on Fox News and come back to reality. First, I own a home, car and have two kids in college. I'm not talking about redistribution of wealth, but that's your Fox News talking point that you need to stick to, I understand that. What I'm talking about is a recalibration of the tax code, just like the thrust of the story in your first link. During the RISDIC crisis in 1992, the wealthiest RI'ers were hit with a tax surcharge and we got through that mess. Why would it be such a hardship now to do virtually the same thing? Especially since the rich have gotten richer. As for the $250K demarcation line, I didn't make that up, that is what's pending in the General Assembly. That's just a reporting of the facts. I suggest you find new sources for your facts, the sources you cite are woefully inaccurate. Unless of course, you're just looking to sow disinformation?
give me a break May 16, 2012 at 06:54 PM
James what are you talking about the ederly did thier share of paying taxes when they were younger and working ang PayING TAXES.and when you get there you'll probaly expect the same treatment, its not thier fault we are in this mess, ask the school commitee if its the ederly's fault
Ray May 16, 2012 at 08:23 PM
This is a state that is run by lawyers who take care of the rich. Why do you think multi- millionaire John Kerry registers his yacht here? It s not because of the wonderful maintenance he gets, it’s the fact that he pays no taxes on it. We do not have a state controlled by unions. Do you really think if we did we would have had pension reform? This General Assembly takes care of the rich. Rep. Jon Brien and Sen. Cote take care of the rich and not their constituents. Its no secret that the economy tanked after the Federal tax cuts and then locally when RI passed theirs in 2006. Wake up people, when you hurt the middle class you hurt the economy.
Steve May 16, 2012 at 08:26 PM
Ah James, an MSNBC'er.... How's Rachael and Ed? You really need to get a grip on reality! So you own a home, a couple of cars, and are sending a couple of kids through college? Congratulations...... Maybe you can occupy something and get the tuition paid for right? "I" think your are now classified as rich, and as such, are not paying your FAIR SHARE! Why stop at $250,000 how about $150,000, or maybe $100,000, how does that sound to you? In 60% of the Americans in this country's mind, $100,000 classifies you as "Rich". Until it hits your pocketbook, taxing the so called "Rich" is ok though right? Who defines Rich by the way? You, the GA? BIGOTS at best reaching for any additional revenue stream to justify the take, take, take attitude that is sweeping this country and keeping these enablers in power. Tell ya what, I for one am done giving, and not going to support any type of legislation that makes me or others give more to support our now "Give me everything attitude"! This is classsic redistribution of wealth at it's best regardless if you admit it or not..
Russell Archambault May 16, 2012 at 10:52 PM
LILIAN and others,no matter how much money we give the school system, please get it through your heads is does not go for E D U C A T I O N !!!
Baywatch May 17, 2012 at 03:15 PM
You do realize that that "extra revenue" that you would be collecting may very well have unintended consequences, right? If my pizza shop is generating an income of just under your set "punishment" mark, what incentive do I have to open another one, which will significantly increase my tax liability?
Baywatch May 17, 2012 at 03:17 PM
James Thomas Said... ============================================================= First, before I answer your question, I have a question for you. Why is it, that people such as yourself, always feel the need to classify others as "you people," when you perceive a possible difference in opinion or approach to a problem? ============================================================== I never made such a statement. Seems as though you may be just being emotional and didn't take the time to properly evaluate my point.
David T May 26, 2012 at 03:32 AM
Hey, I'm middle class. If those earning more than me, a lot more, pay a smaller tax percentage, why shouldn't I be extended the same deal? I would argue that I need that extra 2-4 percent a whole lot more than some making 4-5 times more than I make. And that argument that the pizza shop owner would not want to grow his business to earn over 250,000 because his taxes would go up 3 percent is flawed. If his first pizza shop is earning about 249,000 a year, then why wouldn't his second earn about the same? His net gain easily justifies the opening of a second shop and is a big incentive, even if his taxes go up by 3% points. This idea that people who earn less money need to pay a higher percentage of tax has to end. Bring on the flat tax. I suppose the 250 plus folks and all the high paid tax lawyers and tax loop hole experts would go out of business if we did that. Rich, poor, its all relative. I suppose a single guy making $250,000 living in a $500,000 condo, driving a porsche is, laughably poor?! Wouldn't you agree he is rich compared to some living in a modest ranch in Woonsocket driving a 10 year old car? Or even the married couple earning a combine $250,000 in Lincoln with 2 new cars, members of a golf club, season ticket holders for the Redsox, owners of a beach house, going to concerts, staying in hotels 2-3 times a year, shopping at Wholefoods??? That's rich for most of the people I know. Give me the tax break so I can upgrade my car.
David T May 26, 2012 at 03:37 AM
Take away the tax breaks now! Give them to me! I think its my turn to have a break.

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