Rep. Lisa Baldelli Hunt's (D-District 49, Woonsocket), stand against the bill authorizing a supplemental tax last week, two days after her stated support for it, has drawn criticism and praise.
RINPR reports the Woonsocket Teacher's Guild has rapped the representative, criticizing her failure to offer an alternative to the plan. Jeffrey Partington, President of the Woonsocket Teachers’ Guild, also accused Baldelli-Hunt of using school children as pawns in a play for political captial.
However, both Baldelli-Hunt and Mayor Leo Fontaine dismissed similar insinuations in an interview for RIfuture.org after the May 22 House Committee vote where Baldelli-Hunt offered her initial support for the authorizing legislation.
After her reversal that Thursday, Fontaine told 630WPRO.com Baldelli-Hunt didn't apprise him of her change of heart, which she stated began after the House Finance Committee approval of the bill late May 22, when she said she learned a budget commission was inevitable. (Woonsocket City Council President John Ward and Rosemary Booth Gallogly, director of the department of revenue, have both stated a at the time.) Baldelli-Hunt could not be reached by phone for comment.
Fontaine told WPRO he feels Baldelli-Hunt breached his trust, but he'll continue to try working with her.
Not everyone was upset by Thursday's turn of events. On the Woonsocket Patch facebook page, Mike Lebrun commented, "Just keep sending it back... They will sell us out sooner or later!"
Mary Cote Butow commented, "Way to go Baldelli-Hunt..thank you. It's about time someone told the truth. Let's hope the investigation goes forward...why wouldn't we want to know who is responsible and where and why it all went so wrong."
Baldelli-Hunt also had some support from commenters on the story reporting the House sending the tax bill back to committee. "Thank you Baldelli-Hunt!", wrote , and commented: "Thank you Lisa. Now lets get Judge Flanders in so he can begin cleaning the mess."
The Woonsocket Taxpayer's Coalition also praised Baldelli-Hunt in a press release. "The WTC thanks Lisa Baldelli-Hunt for having the courage of her convictions and saying "No" to the Supplemental Tax bill in the absence of a Receiver who can deliver the shared sacrifice that is required to put our city back on track."
In an interview Friday, Ward said Baldelli-Hunt didn't tell him she'd changed her mind either, but that he was focusing on the next step for the city, requesting a budget commission. In a special meeting Sunday, The Woonsocket Call reports The Woonsocket City Council approved asking for a budget commission from the state.