RI Revenue Chief Making Appeal To Revive Woonsocket Supplemental Tax Bill

Entire city delegation's support needed to resurrect legislation.


Hours after the state appointed a Budget Commission to run Woonsocket's finances, members were working to bring back legislation — a task requiring the entire Woonsocket delegation's cooperation.

Larry Berman, communications director for the office of the Speaker, said Speaker Gordon Fox would not consider the bill again without a strong change of heart from local representatives. "It would have to have the support of the whole Woonsocket delegation," Berman said.

The most public of the legislators opposing the supplemental tax bill, Rep. Lisa Baldelli Hunt (Democrat - District 49), spoke against the measure Thursday. Her testimony resulted in the House sending the bill back to committee.

City Council President John Ward, who by statute is a member of the Budget Commission along with Mayor Leo Fontaine, said on Friday the first order of business for the Budget Commission would likely be an attempt to resurrect the supplemental tax bill. Fontaine confirmed that will be an important part of straightening out the city's finances, and he said Director of Finance Rosemary Booth Gallogly has stated she intends to bring the bill back, too.

Without the $6.6 million the supplemental tax bill is expected to raise, the Budget Commission will be tasked with dealing with a $10 million deficit instead of $4.4 million.

"It seems as though they have tunnel vision for this supplemental tax bill," said City Councilman Albert Brien. He said he,  Baldelli-Hunt and Jim Cournoyer, a member of the Woonsocket Taxpayer's Coalition, have been pressing Ward and Fontaine to explore other alternatives to fixing the deficit.

Cournoyer, who said a supplemental tax would be necessary during the first Finance Committee hearing on the bill, said he wouldn't support it without "shared sacrifice", including concessions from retirees and unions, which he said has yet to materialize. 

Brien said the deficit couldn't be dealt with using concessions alone. But he also said cuts wouldn't work. "I think it's a bare-bones budget," he said.  

Fontaine said Gallogly is reaching out to Baldelli-Hunt in hopes of convincing her the supplemental tax bill is worthy of the representative's support. Baldelli-Hunt did not return calls for comment.

"I hope she [Gallogly] is successful," Ward said, because the supplemental tax is an important part of the foundation for next year's budget.

DonQ May 30, 2012 at 11:21 PM
Please don't tell us how much the unions have suffered. If you think you have suffered too much already, go get a job in the real world and feel the pain of losing your job because the company wants to consolidate locations to increase their bottom line. Feel the pain of having to pay $500.00 a month for your medical coverage (single) because you are too young for Medicare. Many union members (city and teachers) have chosen to live outside the city. They want to collect their pay from the taxpayers, but they don't want to live in and support the city. Given a choice, I would prefer a pay cut to job elimination - the city can definitely operate efficiently with less manpower.
Jeff May 31, 2012 at 04:00 AM
Baldelli-Hunt is the only one I will vote for at this time. Good she stood her ground. Ward, Fontaine and the rest of these people who have supported this bill are toast. I'll vote Brien and Jalette the rest can go eat shit
Joe June 02, 2012 at 12:39 PM
Ward said, because the supplemental tax is an important PART of the foundation for next year's budget. OK, what are the other PARTS? Where is the rest of the "plan". Don't you dare foist a huge tax increase onto the back of the struggling taxpayers without making meaningful adjustments elsewhere. This crisis did not sneak up on us ...Deficit Reduction Bond. What is the game plan? Stop asking for more money so that you have more time. You have had enough time. We are now out of both time and money. Bring in a Receiver so that he can do the job that you didn't have the stomach to do. And tell Rosemary to get lost. She had her chance to "lobby for the Supplemental Tax bill". She failed to attend either of the two House Finance Committee meetings. So, like the Mayor and the Council, she had her chance, but chose not to take action. She is now out of time.
Novan for Life June 03, 2012 at 03:09 PM
Why is it that the unions have to shoulder pay reductions they pay there taxes so are people saying union people don't deserve to be a homeowner! really the city needs to cut it's waste and fix it's liability now not kick the can
Mike Kind June 03, 2012 at 04:25 PM
Just for the record, we lost Walmart because of the oppostion of the neighbors- similar to the opposition of the neighbors to the construction of the new CVS at Chipman's corner-similar to the oppostion of many in the community to a waste to energy facility-similar to opposition to the addition of a few more apartments in the old building on Blackstonne St. I wonder what we expect to be built in our City.


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