Finance Committee Approves Supplemental Tax Bill

Authorization of new tax bills passes after tepid support from Woonsocket reps.


The House Finance Committee approved the legislation authorizing the city to issue supplemental tax bills following the tepid support of Reps. Jon D. Brien (Democrat - District 50, Woonsocket) and Lisa Baldelli-Hunt (Democrat - District 49, Woonsocket) this afternoon.

Both representatives said their support for the bill stemmed from their courtesy to local officials rather than their affinity for the legislation or their belief that it would work. Their testimony was delivered before the Finance Committee at 3 p.m. in Room 35 on the basement level of the State House.

"I believe that significant and immediate structural reforms are needed to avert a fiscal crisis in our city and we respectfully suggest that as a first priority, our city leadership should request that a receiver be appointed to work cooperatively with city leaders...," Baldelli-Hunt said. "I am giving them the professional courtesy of supporting the supplemental tax bill that they are requesting," she continued, but said that asking for receiver to be appointed, "is imperative."

"I am at this point willing to come to this committee with an incredibly heavy heart and an amazing personal reluctance but yet, the professional need to do what is done, because the state has to authorize the city to give them the tax that they're asking for," said Brien. If the supplemental tax doesn't work, he said, then he supports Baldelli-Hunt's request that the city go straight to receivership.

"I may not agree that it's the way out," Brien said of the supplemental tax, "I may not agree with the methodology, or the idea that taxation is going to solve the problem. What I'm doing today is giving them the courtesy to try to fix the problem in the means and the manner in which they have communicated to us that will work. And if that's what this takes and that's what they're asking us for, all we can do is give them the authorization to do it."

The bill passed on a vote of 12-2. 

Larry Berman, communications director for the Speaker, said the earliest the full House could vote on the bill would be Thursday. He said if it passes there, the legislation will go straight to Governor Lincoln Chafee.

Now, said Mayor Leo Fontaine, the city just needs to wait for the full House to vote on the bill. There is a danger that the schools may need a loan from the city to pay creditors until an approved supplemental tax can begin to generate funds, which the city is prepared for. "Other than that, there's not a whole lot that we can do," Fontaine said.

Evelyn L. Cournoyer May 22, 2012 at 09:04 PM
I find it difficult to be thrilled! Part of me wishes, it didn't pass. Time will tell.
Fina May 22, 2012 at 09:36 PM
"Both representatives said their support for the bill stemmed from their courtesty (sic) to local officials rather than their affinity for the legislation or their belief that it would work." Am I the only one upset by this logic? I don't want officials to support legislation that they don't believe in at the expense of their constituents, much less so that they can save face with their local officials. That is not how this is supposed to work!
Mike Kind May 22, 2012 at 11:05 PM
If our representatives did not support the bill in some way, they could later be blamed for a receivership and eventual bankruptcy. By supporting it, they may end up looking foolish due to the lack of a long term plan to avert a repetition of this crisis. Not an enviable position, but one that may have been worsened by our representatives failure to scream loudly while Woonsocket's funding was systematically cut and also, in part, due to the fact that we, the people of Woonsocket, did not clamor for more equitable state funding because of the percetage of public housing in our City.
Dave F May 22, 2012 at 11:15 PM
Fina you are so right. I hope everyone remembers the actions of these 2 representatives come election time,, they both sat there and said they dont think the 5th quater tax is going to work but they did it because they were asked to. I can only imagine what other bills these 2 IDIOTS voted on because they were asked to
DMA May 22, 2012 at 11:50 PM
Baldelli-Hunt & Brien just ruined the lives of every tax payer in Woonsocket!!! The Ward and Fontaine Tax is Not In The Best Interest of the Tax Payers of Woonsocket!!!! Baldelli- Hunt Brien, Ward & Fontaine Need To GO!!!!!!
Doctor May 22, 2012 at 11:50 PM
I wish I could sell my house but forget about it, nobody will want to move to Woonsocket.
DMA May 22, 2012 at 11:50 PM
Dave I cannot agree more!
DMA May 22, 2012 at 11:58 PM
Bob C May 23, 2012 at 12:00 AM
Why do folks put up with this? No parks & rec dept., 1/3 of streetlights turned off, no capital improvements in years, roads are awful, and now they want a 5th tax bill bill for the year? Donkeys will fly well before you can peel off these welfare and union leeches that cling to your backs like barnacles on a pier! Get out now, for your own sanity!
Memere May 23, 2012 at 12:46 AM
I am not happy with this situation nor would I be happy with receivership. If Mr. Brien and Ms. Baldelli-Hunt voted for this only to appease city officials and not because they truly believe in this, then I am deeply disappointed in both of them also. This city is in a horrible mess and we, the homeowners and yes, the rent payers also who will be paying higher rents, will be paying a whole lot more because of the past mistakes of our elected officials. You can blame the WED all you want but the truth of the matter is if THE SCHOOLS HAD BEEN PROPERLY FUNDED TO BEGIN WITH, THEY WOULD HAVE NEVER GONE INTO DEFICIT!!!!!!! Our elected officials should hang their heads in shame for not properly funding education in this city. They have no problem in giving huge tax breaks to businesses but cannot properly fund the education of our children. Shame on them!!!!!! May God help us all!!!!!!
CB11 May 23, 2012 at 12:54 AM
Jan Allard May 23, 2012 at 02:09 AM
Well, Rep Baldelli and Rep Brien all of a sudden got their voices back from last week? I hope they don't think for one minute that we commend them. Where have they been all these past years for demanding that we need more state aid? Like I said before, it's an election year, so please remember taxpayers, when they campaign and offer a filet mignon buffet, as the saying goes, "chew and screw"!!
la_mouffette May 23, 2012 at 02:29 AM
^ THIS is SO spot-on.
Ray May 23, 2012 at 10:51 AM
Interesting. Right after the hearing where our local reps said they are against a budget comission the city calls for a workshop on Thursday to bring in the comission. Kudos to Jon and Lisa for seeing the problem with the comission. It would be a comission led by the Mayor having control by virtue of having John Ward and Joe Larissa on it. Jon and Lisa recognize that these are the same people who put us here.
John May 23, 2012 at 11:52 AM
What will we do when they both run unopposed again this year? Remember this, the only reason Jon Brien wants a receiver, which he wants Judge Flanders, is because Judge Flanders gave him the City Prosecutors job in Central Falls when he knew Woonsocket would be next to be in financial trouble. You scratch my back I'll scratch yours?
Taxpayer with Commonsense May 23, 2012 at 12:59 PM
Mr. Brien is simply looking out for the best interest of Woonsocket???? Then why does he not support the bill that would increase tax on the richest Rhode Islanders? The median income in his district is only $30,000 and this bill would only effect those that make more than $250,000!! I guess Mr. Brien is really just looking out for the best interest of his rich friends!!
CB11 May 23, 2012 at 01:13 PM
Yeah, and when those who make more than $250,000 (which would include many small businesses) leave the State, what then? I am so sick of the Class Warfare arguement. Want to talk about what's fair? How about taxing Welfare income like they do Unemployment? OR stop allowing them to get money back every year in the form of "UNEARNED" tax credits. How anyone can claim and get money back on something they didn't earn in the first place is ludicrous! Drop a baby and collect $3000.00 ...Whoo Hoo! Meanwhile those of us who do work and pay taxes are lucky if we break even!
Novan for Life May 23, 2012 at 01:46 PM
fina why don't you put the rest of that comment up there along with baldelli-hunts comments on it
Novan for Life May 23, 2012 at 01:47 PM
you are right mr kind well said
Ray May 23, 2012 at 05:02 PM
John Ward and Leo were pathetic on the radio this morning blaming the general assembly on any delay. Are you kidding me? These guys knew of the deficit problem before their election last year but didn't want it to effect there re-election. Now they are publicly against a comission to study why we got and which would reveal when they knew of the problem. Thats tranparency and Johny and Leo don't want it.
English first May 23, 2012 at 05:08 PM
"Ruined your life" and all the lives of EVERY tax payer in Woonsocket? Really? Ruined your life?
Russell Archambault May 23, 2012 at 07:14 PM
paying the fifth quarter; fine, i dont have a choice. im behind in all my taxes now. ill just keep on going this way until i loose another property maybe. my problem. im not crying about it. my mistakes my fault. im just curious if the fifth tax doesn't solve anything. will they refund us? or will any teacher worry about me. or the subsidize rat parent care? lets have a poll yes or no on question " does anybody care about each other ?
Russell Archambault May 23, 2012 at 07:22 PM
my observation; the state implemented or created the formula for school funding for one reason. for our city and others in the same situation to squeeze us, so we would finally look at the waste in our school systems. they forgot one thing. no has the blls to fix it. we are looking to the wrong people to solve this problem !
CB11 May 23, 2012 at 07:26 PM
From what I understand, this "5th quarter" tax isn't a one-time deal. It's going to be a permanent thing and I assume, added to the 1 - 4 quarters next year!
CB11 May 23, 2012 at 07:30 PM
I'm not trying to stick up for anyone and I may be wrong, but I thought the school committee declared they had a surplus of $100,000 when the school year started and the city was forming its budget. Are we sure anyone knew beforehand?
Jerry May 24, 2012 at 01:23 AM
Why can't our reps who were voted in by taxpayers just DO THE RIGHT THING. Is that too much to ask? Why wouldn't they pass a bill that taxes rich people? Wouldn't that help us? But no,,,they can't do the right thing...why? hmmm, who has them in their left pocket? Reps certainly aren't perfect..don't they have a concious? Lately, I've only heard of reps, trying to kill bills that make sense, getting DUI's or caught with drugs. Where are all the good ones? Do we have any? I've only heard a local rep on the radio that walks the walk, but doesn't TALK THE TALK!!
give me a break May 24, 2012 at 09:20 AM
well thiers two more I don't have to vote for if I still in RI. the outlook for woonsocket could be foreclosure,bankruptcy,walk aways, tax liens,


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