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Baldelli-Hunt Gets Heat, Praise For Reversal On Tax Bill

Mayor, Teacher's Union criticize reversal on House floor, WTC praises stand.

 

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.

la_mouffette May 30, 2012 at 06:22 PM
I can only assume, James, that you aren't a Woonsocket resident. Our taxes have consistently gone up 3 to 5% every year. I don't know how many times that has to be said in public. I agree, there has often been too little involvement, and our voting numbers are too low. Imagine how frustrating this is for those of us who HAVE long been following politics and trying to encourage others to do so. Additionally, it's very, very hard to get an incumbent out of office here. Our politicians largely get elected by courting either local Union vote, or the vote of those who live in the Elderly High-rises. Many of our senior citizens are well informed politically, but many others aren't, and can be bought with dinners. Elected officials make the rounds of our large high-rises, providing free chicken dinners, etc., to whomever attends their speeches downstairs. Then, when election time comes around, the polling place for their part of town is conveniently stationed IN their high rise, so they only have to take an elevator downstairs to go vote. It's an easy way to get a LARGE chunk of the local vote, and it's highly effective. You can't find a High-rise elderly apartment complex that our mayor hasn't courted with a good free meal every election season-- and we have four LARGE ones. If someone runs but does NOT have the means to provide a competitive meal for all four senior high-rises, they will not be elected. It's discouraging.
James Thomas May 30, 2012 at 07:06 PM
I'm a Woonsocket legacy and still care a great deal about what happens in Woonsocket. It pains me to see what has happened to a once great, industrial city. It truly is sad that offices can be bought so cheaply and residents don't seem to care about anything and will vote for a politician out of simple name recognition, even when that family name has been tarnished. Woonsocket should do what Pawtucket (and RI) did and Providence and Narragansett did by ousting the Lynch and Caprio dynasties, respectively, last election cycles; by finally jettisoning the Brien and Baldelii(-Hunt) names. Both Lisa Baldelii-Hunt and Jon Brien are too busy eying their own future plans yet few constituents realize they're elected officials have taken their eyes off the ball when it comes to the needs of the average citizen of Woonsocket. Although, until more people get involved, I don't see it happening. Too many people are just content to go with the status quo, even though that just leads to a greater feeling of entitlement on the part of the elected official. Until there's some kind of organized uprising, I see the same cycle continuing. However I'll keep agitating to get people to step up and run for office. What's the worst that can happen, they might win?
Doctor May 30, 2012 at 07:46 PM
Where is the new Social Ocean we were promised?
Russell Archambault May 31, 2012 at 12:43 AM
DOCTOR; haven't you looked lately, its still there, just not with so much water. if you would have looked closer, you would have noticed that the park serves a much better fuction than that of 5 or 7 people not even swimming. it now serves around 50 homeless nighttime residents. and much more!!
Misty Harbor May 31, 2012 at 01:59 AM
Who cares about social ocean, let's take the 2.6 million the state is supposed to give the city for the social pit and help the city out. Let the bums who hang out in the park all day clean it up...and all the other complainers out there who live off the fat of the land and do something constructive.

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