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.

Tommy Tutone May 30, 2012 at 10:27 AM
Here we go again....all on the backs of the lowly taxpayer.Out of work?Tough,pay up.Haven't had a raise in years?Tough,pay up.Worried about losing your job?Tough,pay up.On a fixed income?Tough,pay up.These people remind me of Mafia chieftains,instead of breaking your legs,they'll take the roof over your head and the food off your table.
give me a break May 30, 2012 at 10:28 AM
what else would you expect from the committee w/ fontaine and ward there, thats the only why they know how to fix a problem
Tommy Tutone May 30, 2012 at 11:15 AM
Excellent idea,let's see how many takers in here!
lor102@yahoo.com May 30, 2012 at 12:19 PM
We need a big rally of all city residdents...
DonQ May 30, 2012 at 12:37 PM
I would hope that the budget commission will do what the mayor and city council have not done. There needs to be a mandatory pay reduction for all union members - city workers as well as teachers. The budget commission needs to reduce the waste in all city departments and the WED. The union leaders need to lead - the comments by teacher's union president Partington shows how out of touch with reality the unions are. Partington accused Baldelli-Hunt of using the children as pawns. Obviously Partington lacks the mental capacity to realize that the taxpayers of Woonsocket cannot afford to fund the waste and mismanagement of the WED. The ridiculous step program that gives teachers raises on top of the negotiated pay increases needs to be eliminated. The WED needs to be operated with a smaller staff. When the budget commission makes the changes needed to save the city money, then we can address the supplemental tax.
KC May 30, 2012 at 12:42 PM
seems like only the taxpayers of Woonsocket are concerned, the other 60+% of the population couldn't care less. not sure why this comes on our backs, we're not the ones that overspent by $10 million. and why should we "bail" them out when they haven't fixed the problem... we'll be right back here again, and they'll be asking for more money. I know my neighborhood would be up for a rally, we're all tired of the bs "just stick it to the taxpayer mentality."
Santino Marella May 30, 2012 at 01:32 PM
I'm running for Mayor!, I bet 100 to 1, I can do better, even without any political background. Start off cutting off those useless workers at City Hall, stop buying Crown Victorias and expensive SUV's, Tax break for Movie production companies, incentives for first time home buyers, get people to buy and not abandon homes, We lost Walmart and were going to loose others soon, get rid of this administration!
Novan for Life May 30, 2012 at 02:09 PM
Well said sir! As far as this revival it's going to fail like the first try so why do they even bother wasteing time for?
la_mouffette May 30, 2012 at 05:27 PM
Let's talk Rally. Maybe someone should contact the Taxpayer's Coalition about helping organize this? It needs to take place when most working people can attend. If there is one scheduled for 10:30 am, there at least needs to be a second wave after 5 or 6 pm. I *know* we need a supplemental tax, but I refuse to let it pass until I see ACTUAL PROGRESS on the other parts of some kind of workable plan. I no longer trust 75% of my local elected officials.
la_mouffette May 30, 2012 at 05:47 PM
BTW, this story also lays bare the workings of our local government... It was privately hinted to our sstate reps that unless they supported this tax bill, their careers could be over. The implied threat is that our local politicians can ramp up the PR machine, lay all the blame for Woon's problems on them, and make sure they don't get re-elected. After many local people beg and plead with her, Baldelli-Hunt asks for the bill to be recommitted, almost crying. She says she knows this might mean the end of her political career. The only Rep who opposes is from Lincoln, and as a retired Woonsocket firefighter collecting a city pension, he has a personal interest in the Tax. As the House Whip points out, that rep had to recuse himself from voting, has no right to protest! House Speaker Gordon Fox bangs the gavel, the Bill is put aside, and the House of Representatives LOUDLY APPLAUDS his action. Baldelli-Hunt is far from alone! But instantly, our Mayor began painting her that way. This was all a big stupid mistake by the flip-flopping, untrustworthy, lone wolf Baldelli-Hunt. The local PR machine has been cranking full blast to try to discredit her since she asked to have this Bill put aside. So, a good strong taste of "we're going to make sure you don't get re-elected!" and now, a chance for her to change her mind. I hope our reps don't cave to this thuggery. I'm disgusted.
DonQ May 30, 2012 at 05:53 PM
I hope that our state reps not only do not cave in to this thuggery , I hope this display of thuggery on the part of Fontaine seals his fate in this city. I hope that we never again see the name of Leo Fontaine or John Ward running for any elected office in the City of Woonsocket or the State of Rhode Island. More importantly if either one of them is bold enough to run for any office again, I hope the taxpayers are smart enough to remember how they destroyed the City of Woonsocket and what they did to the taxpayers.
Tommy Tutone May 30, 2012 at 07:01 PM
According to Comissar Fontaine,the supplemental is for our own good.We should thank him for looking out for us.He wants us all to look to him as a father figure and we're all in need of a good spanking for complaining. Baldelli-Hunt spearheaded the relief of the water treatment plant when the Comissar wanted to jam that down our throats along with the supplemental and the new fire protection tax.She's doing her job trying to look out for people that are hurting.
Ron Burgandy May 30, 2012 at 11:02 PM
How is this the unions fault!? All the cities union workers do is work hard to serve this city and it's citizens. What they receive in return is all any employee asks for, a fair wage. Most have to work overtime and second jobs to provide for their families. Any pension or health insurance benefits were negotiated in lieu of wage increases in previous contracts. And these benefits have ALL been reduced in recent union concessions, where they have attempted to share the taxpayers burden. These are difficult times for everyone effected by Woonsockets financial problems, and no one is more effected than those who live and work in the city. As usual when asked to, I'm sure the unions will step up and make consessions. However, all a manditory union wage reduction in addition to a supplemental tax will do is punish those who choose to live in the city that they serve!
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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