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Rep. Lisa Baldelli-Hunt Seeks Re-election On Principled Record

Dist. 49 Incumbent stands behind recent vote against supplemental tax.

 

If Rep. Lisa Baldelli-Hunt's (D-Dist. 49) popularity at is any indication, her primary challengers have a lot of work ahead of them.

The representative got welcoming smiles from Paul and the staff Friday morning and spent a few minutes making small talk with patrons on her way to a table. The incumbent seems at home and comfortable there.    

To those voters who might be on the fence about whether to back Baldelli-Hunt for another term, she says her service has been conscientious, in the best interests of her constituents. 

The life-long Woonsocket resident has been getting to know those constituents for some time now. She worked as a Post Office clerk from 1984 until 2005, when she left to begin managing real estate investments full time, providing more flexibility while she raised her three children. During her time at the Post Office, "I met thousands of people," Baldelli-Hunt said. 

She managed rental properties for a little while, but eventually moved on to commercial real estate, buying a strip plaza on Social Street in 2006. That year she learned her neighbor, David E. Laroche, the state rep. for Dist 49, wasn't planning to run again. "I knew that I could be an asset to the community," Baldelli-Hunt said, and make the city, and the state, a better place for her kids and grand-kids. She ran unopposed, and has been representing the district since then. 

Primary challenger Mike Morin has criticized her vote to table House bill (H-7729), which, according to Rhode Islanders Tax Equity (RITE), would have increased the income tax rate from 5.99 percent to 9.99 percent on individuals making more than $250,000 per year. The tax rate would have gone down 1 percent for each 1 percent reduction in the state's unemployment, until the tax rate returned to 5.99 percent. The effect on the state budget would have been an additional $118 million in revenue, according to RITE.

Baldelli-Hunt, who signed the bill when it was first introduced, said she voted to table an amendment adding those changes to this year’s budget because its sponsor, Representative Maria Cimini, introduced an altered version she didn't have time to review in the heat of the legislative session. "Things are moving very quickly," during the session, Baldelli-Hunt said, "It's a total of about a minute." She said the amendment wasn't identical to Cimini's bill, and she didn't feel voting for a changed version was responsible when she didn't know what the changes were. "This is something that needs to be vetted," she said.

Baldelli-Hunt said her position against the supplemental tax bill, which she originally supported before the General Assembly's Finance Committee, was also an act of conscience.

She said that although it was evident to her that the Mayor and City Council's plan was to go to the taxpayers first for the supplemental tax and then make cuts to the city's budget, she agreed to support the bill. "For 48 hours I acquiesced to their request, even though in my gut, I felt very uncomfortable. It was a horrible 48 hours for me. I knew my conscience was telling me it was wrong," Baldelli-Hunt said.

Then, before the General Assembly vote on the bill, she said, she learned that the funds expected from the supplemental tax were estimated based on Central Falls' 65 percent collection rate, where taxpayers had a year to pay in installments. "Ours was due in one payment," Baldelli-Hunt said, and taxpayers wouldn't get a year to come up with the money. She said the burden on taxpayers seemed too high, with an unrealistic expectation of the funds that would be raised. 

Also, she said, she and the rest of the Woonsocket delegation learned that the Supplemental Tax Bill wouldn't necessarily prevent a Budget Commission for the city.

Finally, she said, state officials were concerned that the municipal side of the budget was in trouble as well as the school side. Finance Director Thomas Bruce said the city has, in fact, operated with surplus for the last two years, a fact that is backed up in finanicial reports posted on the city's website, and repeated in Moody's ratings reports on city finances and at Budget Commission meetings.

Still, Baldell-Hunt said, "I should've never agreed, for 48 hours," to back the supplemental tax. She said she imagined what such a bill showing up in her family's mailbox when she was young would've done. "You can't do that to people," Baldelli-Hunt said, "It's not OK."

Baldelli-Hunt repeated her statement that a supplemental tax should've been the last resort, not the first. She said Mayor Leo Fontaine and the City Council had months after learning about the impending deficit to negotiate with the unions before seeking a supplemental tax, and failed to do that until after the supplemental tax bill was defeated and the Budget Commission was established. 

Despite her position that union talks should've come first, Baldelli-Hunt said she's not anti-union. She said firefighters, teachers and police are an important part of the community, but cuts to benefits had to be made to mend the city's deficit and keep it running in the future. "We have to think beyond the single moment that we're in," Baldelli-Hunt said.

When asked whether her change of heart had anything to do with aspirations to the mayor's office, Baldelli-Hunt said that, had she not had the best interests of her constituency in mind, a vote for the supplemental tax would've been a better political move, because, "The tax increase would then have been in place and it would've been blamed on Mayor Leo Fontaine," she said.

She said she's been happy representing Dist. 49 for the last several years, and, "I want to continue it for two more."

Baldelli-Hunt faces two challengers in the Sept.11 primary: Stuart Gitlow and Mike Morin. Whoever wins that contest will face Independent candidate Michael E. Moniz for the seat Nov. 6. 

Elaine Cloutier September 10, 2012 at 02:38 PM
The worst part is she comes across as so nice and caring, yet she hasn't been to a single budget commission hearing. How is that being engaged?
Elaine Cloutier September 10, 2012 at 02:41 PM
And neither one has attended a single Budget Commission hearing. they claim they were doing what's best for the city because the city didn't have a plan, yet they never offered anything on their own and don't seem to care what's currently taking place in the city, all they care about is getting re-elected. I'm disgusted!
Rob Borkowski (Editor) September 10, 2012 at 03:11 PM
"Really?" - Thanks for taking the time to comment on this article and keep the discussion moving. Your last sentence treads into libel, however. I've pasted the productive portion of your comment below. Please, all, keep your comments to established facts. Really?: "What?? So Baldelli says in this article "I should've never agreed, FOR 48 HOURS, to back the supplemental tax". Well talk about a politician trying to twist the truth. In a May 17 Page A6 story in the Providence Journal, she stated that she already testified in favor of the bill at the the Senate Finance Committee hearing and "felt that her support was already on record". Well that Senate finance committee meeting that she voiced her support for the supplemental tax was held on 4/26 according to the state's website. That was nearly a month before that she supported it before she was against it not "48 Hours" she is a liar and that is a FACT."
Rob Borkowski (Editor) September 10, 2012 at 03:24 PM
Jan, is this the check-cashing issue you're referring to? :http://news.providencejournal.com/breaking-news/2012/03/lawmaker-baldel.html (Everyone, please provide links when you mention information we haven't covered on the site, so people have a clear reference for your comments.)
Marc Beauregard September 10, 2012 at 03:28 PM
The real laughs came later when Roger (BTW I own a flower shop) Jalette came on and blamed fire fighters, teachers, policemen etc.. for everything. CVS will move out of the city because of these people. What a desparate move by the Brien/Baldelli campaigns
Rob Borkowski (Editor) September 10, 2012 at 03:37 PM
Hi, DMA - To what vote are you referring? The examples in this story show she voted to table a budget amendment that would've raised taxes for those making more than $250K, and against a supplemental tax raising taxes on many others. Please provide a link.
DMA September 10, 2012 at 03:44 PM
Marc so true but everyone must remember All Municipal Labor Contracts that have been approved for The Firefighters and Police Officers Have To Be Approved by the Mayor And City Council! It is these Elected Officials that Is The Problem The Mayor And City Council!
Marc Beauregard September 10, 2012 at 03:50 PM
I know and I hear that Uncle Charlie Baldelli gave out some rich contracts when he was Mayor. And some disability pensions also
DMA September 10, 2012 at 03:57 PM
Yed He Did Marc you are 100% Correct! If you were politically connected to Baldelli you got what you wanted. And the City Of Woonsocket is paying out boat loads Cash$$$$
Rob Borkowski (Editor) September 10, 2012 at 04:11 PM
Hi, all - Again, this is not the place to accuse someone of a crime. If you would like to reference an article about someone, please provide the link to the story. The rules for slander and libel may be more lenient for public figures, but fair conduct is the same for everyone.
John September 10, 2012 at 05:34 PM
I'm not sure anyone was accused of a crime.....just bad politics
DR September 10, 2012 at 06:20 PM
I hope the State invest the money wisely such as loaning the distressed cities the equivalent of a supplemental tax plus say 4% interest. Woonsocket would pay the State back from its savings after the necessary cuts have been made, it would take a few years. Taxpayers and businesses are over taxed as it is now.
JPicard September 10, 2012 at 07:05 PM
Thankfully we have other options. LBH and MM have been fighting each other so much that they've both forgotten about the candidate I hope everyone actually votes for.
DR September 10, 2012 at 08:47 PM
Thanks for sticking up for the taxpayers Lisa. Good Luck Tomorrow!
la_mouffette September 10, 2012 at 09:32 PM
"...brag about pension reform? Oh yea, hurt the working people even more.. " Jan, I respect and appreciate our firefighters, police, teachers... but with municipal unions, without some reform, what you can end up with is some working families insulated against tough times at the expense of all the other working families in the city. Many hard-working, non-union families have gone through years of bad economy, no raises at work, or even being laid off, and still have to pay ever-higher taxes in support of contracts that never change. It can start to feel very unfair. Do you know what I mean?
Really? September 10, 2012 at 09:50 PM
What ? So it looks like my previous post got deleted when all I did was point out that Baldelli Hunt says in this article that she shouldnt have supported the supplemental for "48 HOURS" yet on a page A6 story in the Providence Journal of May 17, she makes it clear that she supported the supplemental and in fact testified in favor of it at the Senate Finance Committee Meeting which was held in late April. That is far more than 48 Hours.. Not very truthful to say that she only supported it for 48 hours. Just sayin'. Is this going to get deleted too ??
Really? September 10, 2012 at 09:54 PM
Baldelli was against pension reform too !! http://woonsocket.going.com/articles/baldelli-hunt-tells-city-officials-she-cannot-support-current-pension-bill Funny how she alsways changes her position depending on which way the wind is blowing at the moment. Also. Did she ever answer the questions regarding that questionable real estate transaction with Councilman Brien yet ??
Brian O'Ryan September 10, 2012 at 10:04 PM
Heard her on WNRI this morning and of course, NO mention of it!
Russell Archambault September 10, 2012 at 10:49 PM
really any real estate transaction between to private parties is none of your business or mine, unless it falls in the hands of the public sector later. I wonder if you were around when we had the credit failure on jan 2 in 1990. those were questionable real estate transactions. If you knew anything about the business we would not have this conversation. try to find something much better to try to defame them. try to have a conversation with brian o'ryan he might a clue on finance!
DMA September 10, 2012 at 11:21 PM
No Not True Russell When You Are A Public Elected Official You Are Fair GAME! All Public Transactions Are Fair Game!
Russell Archambault September 11, 2012 at 12:50 AM
DMA ill agree all records are public, but to just say questionable in a private transaction. that could stretch a bit. lets wait and see. true everything is fair game and people bend the rules or just ignore them in this world.
Brian O'Ryan September 11, 2012 at 01:21 AM
Kind of like the way you ignore grammar!!! LMAO!!!! You slay me, Russ!!!! I love it!!!!!!!!
Russell Archambault September 11, 2012 at 01:32 AM
I failed most of my classes but did graduate, can you beleive it. wish i would have stayed in typing class also. that girl I used to bunk with from that class wasnt worth it after all!
Jerry September 11, 2012 at 02:37 AM
I guess Lisa owns "Loads of Fun". More like "loads of bull". Is Lisa related to Brien? Woonsocket seems to be one big "incest" family. Everyone is related to everyone. It's a sad state of affairs....
Brian O'Ryan September 11, 2012 at 02:48 AM
You failed most classes and yet still graduated?!? See?!? That's the problem here with the system. You were a failure in most of your education and you were just scooted through. Shame on the education system.
Russell Archambault September 11, 2012 at 03:48 AM
Mr. O'Ryan; The problem with the educational system back then was the school system did not pay their teachers enough money. Perhaps now that we are paying grammer school principals 90,000.88 per year, plus benefits,we will have a chance of changing all of the educational problems in grammer school. I, being dumb as i am, not able to read very well, write or add,I seem to be able to subtract my wealth at a much quicker rate than ever before
Stan "the man" Stasiak September 11, 2012 at 12:18 PM
.....and shame on you O'Ryan for calling him a failure.You must live on a higher plane than the rest of us.He gets his point across even with grammatical errors.
Rob Borkowski (Editor) September 11, 2012 at 02:34 PM
Don't forget to vote today, folks.
la_mouffette September 14, 2012 at 08:29 PM
haha!

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