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Final Hope For Supplemental Tax Rests With General Assembly Tonight

State director of revenue working with Woonsocket Delegation to win their support.

 

The final hope for supporters of the Woonsocket supplemental tax authorization bill rests in the hands of the General Assembly tonight, during the last hours of the 2012 session.

If it's not passed before the session ends sometime late this coming morning, said Larry Berman, communications director for Speaker Gordon Fox, there'll be no supplemental tax. Earlier this evening, RIFuture.org reported that though the Woonsocket Delegation has still not agreed to back the bill, Fox said he wasn't sure whether the House would vote on the measure without their support.

"Speaker Fox would prefer to have the support of the Woonsocket Delegation," Berman said this evening. Earlier, Berman had said the bill would not be heard without their support.

On June 6, the Woonsocket Budget Commission, formed days after the supplemental tax bill was tabled by the House, voted to ask the General Assembly to reconsider the bill. Members said they hoped the panel's study of the situation and their support would lend strength to the argument to bring the bill back.

Director of Revenue Rosemary Booth Gallogly was continuing talks with members of the Woonsocket Delegation this evening, said Christine Hunsinger, communications director for Gov. Lincoln Chafee. She said the revenue director hoped to win their support for the supplemental tax. "They're still talking," she said.

Rep. Lisa Baldelli Hunt (Democrat - District 49, Woonsocket) led local legislators' opposition to the bill in a passionate speech before the House May 24.

Hunsinger said the governor's position on the supplemental tax, that it was an unfortunate necessity, was unchanged.

James Thomas June 13, 2012 at 03:20 PM
I don't agree with Mr. Dionne often but I think he's dead on in this one. Why weren't Fontaine and Ward at the State House yesterday, all night if necessary, lobbying for the city? Woonsocket should be ashamed of its elected officials. What kind of example are they setting for the children in the city when all they do is shirk responsibility and point the finger of blame at someone else at the first opportunity.
Russell Archambault June 13, 2012 at 03:29 PM
DOCTOR; another fine suggestions. delinquent collections. without penalty?? personal property?? wrong !! the city is way ahead of you on how to collect !! hope your not a brain surgeon.
Russell Archambault June 13, 2012 at 03:33 PM
ill vote for Rep Lisa also. and i would also back dionne.
Steve June 13, 2012 at 04:00 PM
Mr. Ward, who other than the City Council have these topics been discussed with? From what I've heard, you folks on the City Council and the Mayor seem to be talking to yourselves, and have been doing so for the last six months! Have you talked to any Union Reps. about these plans and cuts, if so, how did that go? I would think you would have to get buy in from these Union Reps. before making any cuts to their benefits, pensions or COLAS, or at least inform them of what's coming down the road, right? Who exactly have you talked to outside of the Mayor and City Council members about these corrective action plans? Where are the details? Also, what is the plan to modify the Homestead exemption rates? They're at 43% now for a single family, what is the plan here? 40, 35, 30, 25%? Where are the details? Also, how much will these cuts add to the city's bottom line? 2, 3, 5, 6, 8 Million? Again, where are the details? Details???????
la_mouffette June 13, 2012 at 04:05 PM
I agree, Imzadi. I see the usefulness of education to society! But sadly, right now we aren't educating kids for our own community. That healthy cycle is broken. We are educating kids who, if they can, will escape Woonsocket, and who can blame them?? Kids who go into the medical field do not want to work at our dysfunctional hospital. Kids who go into business know that this is a terrible place to try to start one. And any kid who goes on to be financially successful either knows better than to buy a home here, or buys a home that will rapidly drain his bank account with taxes and fees. etc., etc. Our city needs a lot of fixing. We're imploding! =(
la_mouffette June 13, 2012 at 04:06 PM
btw, I don't mean we should stop paying to educate our kids. I just mean, the problem is much bigger and more complex than just the school department.
Mike June 13, 2012 at 04:07 PM
Love the sarcasm...
la_mouffette June 13, 2012 at 04:14 PM
It DOES say it all. At this point, it's clear that Gallogly and the governor want the Woon city government to fix its own financial gaps by any means necessary, no matter what that means to the residents, because the state does not want another city to go through bankruptcy. Period. They do not care if people lose their homes and we lose even more businesses from our tax base. They just want the immediate danger of receivership and bankruptcy averted, for the overall benefit of RI.
Mike June 13, 2012 at 04:18 PM
Thanks for the vacuous opinion post. Do you have any facts to back up your irrelevent assertions? What are BH's ideas to fix this mess except to call the GA "crazy" and to deny the people of Woonsocket the right to manage their own affairs vice having a dictator appointed? Do you really think a receiver won't raise taxes? On a seperate note, why exactly do you feel the need to state your name twice?
la_mouffette June 13, 2012 at 04:19 PM
The sad thing there is, Quite a few homeowners have spoken publicly at meetings about their inability to raise rents any higher at this point, because they know their tenants just can't pay more. Taxes can only be raised so high before residents are forced to move out. I'm afraid that's already happening, based on the high number of "For Rent" signs I'm seeing lately =(
Sly June 13, 2012 at 04:27 PM
People,The State or RI never cared ever about Woonsocket.Between the percentage of jobs lost North of Providence compared to job lost South of Providence is huge.Plus they never liked the Mayor,Council President.We need to put time limits on almost everything. Welfare,Holding an Elected Seat in Local or State Goverment, Welfare being the main limit.Woonsocket will not be good for a long time.The leadership is not there and Soon neither wil be the tax payers.The Homestead Ex.will alway's be there but will chnage.
la_mouffette June 13, 2012 at 05:13 PM
Mr. Ward, As best as I can understand you, this problem falls on the shoulders of our State Reps. Whatever bad things happen to us, it's only because they have failed us? Since these plans were prepared, why have you not been more open with them? We've only been told, over and over, that things are being "bantied" or "bandied" about (neither term is really good in this context, but let's not digress.) We have never been told, nor seen evidence, that you actually moved forward with anything. Where and when were the meetings when these plans were set in stone? Have negotiations been COMPLETED? If our state reps don't know about concrete plans, we can hardly be surprised. Where are the Woon. residents or Union Members who know about them? Can you blame us for our lack of trust? This crisis has been looming for YEARS, YEARS in which both you and Mr. Fontaine were in office, years in which various options were "bandied about" vaguely, in which bonds were issued, taxes raised, and none of the hard work of performing actual fixes was done. Why wait until the eleventh hour of crisis to finally move on plans that some city residents have been urging on you for YEARS?
la_mouffette June 13, 2012 at 05:14 PM
Those of us who closely follow politics are displeased with you and the mayor for obvious reasons. There has long been a lack of transparency, intended or not (though, there are times when it was obviously intended. I'm glad the legerdemain of tabling a thing ad nauseam and then suddenly discussing it under G&W to avoid public notice has finally been killed.) But the Cheshire Cat is right....We MUST all be mad here! We both know the city budget has only been "balanced" by ignoring pension-OPEB payments. Frankly, THAT dangerous charade makes me feel like I'm in Wonderland. If you hope a market recovery will save us, tell us! We may not agree, but we will at least have SOME DIM IDEA of what our elected leaders are planning! Try it. We aren't *all* the ignorant rabble you obviously take us for, Mr. Ward. TELL US your plans, and SHOW US concrete progress. THEN you may find traction. The best way to address your haters is to make yourself less hateful to us.
la_mouffette June 13, 2012 at 05:18 PM
The city council did take a pay cut, Tired. And no, they don't make much. The Mayor is quite a different story, on both counts. Makes quite a handsome income as mayor, but has not been willing to take a paycut. If he expects everyone else to pull together and suffer together to save our city, it would be a wise action on his part to do so.
Baywatch June 13, 2012 at 05:27 PM
It's time for the city to live within its means by cutting spending! Does anyone know how much revenue the city lost when Wal-mart left? Has the city considered the efficacy of hosting a series of fund-raisers? How about asking for volunteers to perform tasks such as lawn mowing and park maintenance? Re-negotiating the trash contract could also possibly save money. How much is the new water and sewer plant costing and why do we need it now? How about "you name it" strategies? Auction off the names to parks and public buildings to the highest bidders. Offer zero or very low tax rate deals to big corporations to attract them into the city. They will create jobs and indirectly have positive effects on the local community. There are plenty of options other than raising taxes on the people that are unable to afford them. The fact that our "leaders" have not and will not explore creative ideas to remedy our situation is evidence of their dereliction of duties. Shame on you Mr. Mayor, I believe that you are extremely irresponsible (and a bit smarmy too)!
Lisa June 13, 2012 at 07:05 PM
My, my, Mr. Pompous Ward, you have such a clever way with words by using quotes from Alice in Wonderland. One need only read between the lines to see that you are basically only concerned with your own special interest groups. Who's in the "we all know who is in that system"? You claim that you've discussed and prepared to making cuts (on said special interest groups) have you actually taken any real steps to start the cuts? Seems to me as though all you and Fontaine have started is your assault on the taxpayers through your TAX, TAX,TAX campaign against we commoners (you know who's in that system...taxpayers). For a second you mention "our children" then you babble on about about raises for (you know who they are)... the same people you babbled on about for a full paragraph earlier. Students get one brief mention while teachers/pensioners get a whole paragraph. Why stop at giving tax, exemptions to "seniors living in their homes", but not for people who have severe disabilities. Apparently your not concerned about families who will lose their homes, go without eating or without medicine/medical care when your special interest philosophy makes them lose their property due to outrageous increase in TAXES to fund others (you know who). During your campaign you did say you wanted to raise our taxes to pay the ridiculous pensions FOR (you know who). Too bad that taxpayers are lucky to still have jobs, never-mind, raises or 6% COLAs! You'll go down with us, pal.
Lisa June 13, 2012 at 07:27 PM
I agree with your comments, Mr. Dionne, especially sentences #1 and #2. I'm glad that Rep Baldelli-Hunt decided to change her stance. The stipulations added by her, Rep. Phillips and Rep Brien were not unreasonable, in fact, they should be granted before ANY tax increases or decisions are made by the commission. Sadly, your last statement will likely continue and they will continue to blame others even though THEY have been part of the problems all along. I want a a full investigation into our finances. Those responsible need to be held accountable.
Tommy Tutone June 13, 2012 at 08:31 PM
Leo Fontaine:Pass the supplemental and"let the chips fall where they may".I love the arrogance....the "chips" could fall very hard on the (financially) weakest among us and he just shrugs it off. Bring in the reciever and fire his callous ass!
Albert Mooney June 13, 2012 at 10:17 PM
Wow Mr Ward glad to see you and your fellow council members have discussed and are prepared to make cuts....however: actions speak louder than words!
Novan for Life June 13, 2012 at 10:39 PM
RENTERS DO thats what rent goes towards so the landlord or property owner can pay bills on the property. By the way that tax will never happen so keep dreaming carol!!!
Novan for Life June 13, 2012 at 10:45 PM
no said confirmation on that
Novan for Life June 13, 2012 at 10:47 PM
$7.8million dollars in tax revenue and LOWE'S pays about $10.6 million in taxes to the city
Novan for Life June 13, 2012 at 10:47 PM
I AGREE DEAD IN THE WATER
Memere June 13, 2012 at 10:49 PM
I fully agree!
English first June 13, 2012 at 10:54 PM
What has Mr. Philips done? Does anyone have a comment on this? Any quotes? Any bills in the legislature? Any leadership? At least the other elected officials have taken a stand one way or another.
Memere June 13, 2012 at 10:56 PM
Mr. Dionne, I completely agree. Mr. Ward and Mr. Fontaine should not be on this budget commission although, I do understand that this is the law. But laws can be changed. A thorough investigation into city finances and into the current administration's ties to this needs to be made immediately!
Memere June 13, 2012 at 11:00 PM
But that's not saying much considering who we have in politics right now, is it? I do not agree with her latest blunder. I am deeply disappointed in her. Only time will tell whether she erred or was right on the money.
Mike June 14, 2012 at 12:13 AM
Thank you for your service, Mr. Ward. Sad to see that Ms. Hunt was more than willing to support the supplemental as long as her relative got a good deal; guess corrupt RI politics are still the norm at the statehouse. Please ignore the negative comments and keep doing the best you can for the city.
Joe June 14, 2012 at 01:24 AM
Mr. Ward, "Where has Rep. Baldelli-Hunt, Jon Brien, and Robert Phillips brought us?" I guess the same question could be asked of you and Mayor Fontaine. After all, you are the two that created and approved the current year's Budget that you now, after the election, say was an unrealistic Budget. And as the other posters have already said, what exactly have you and the Council proposed regarding cost cuts. All we here about from you and Mayor Fontaine is a rant about State Aid and the need for ever higher taxes. We have yet to hear one single specific recommendation for cost cuts. The key word in your post is "discussed". That sums it up well. All you people do is discuss and talk about things, but you never take action, you have no follow-through, you don't draw a line in the sand and make specific proposals. Instead, you just talk and talk and talk and discuss and discuss ....with no action. It is a cliche, but the old saying "actions speak louder than words" is appropriate in this instance. Yes, we know we are all going to get a tax increase, but we want action in other areas too. Unfortunately, you and Mayor Fontaine don't have the stomach to do what needs to be done. Not to worry, a receiver will do the job for you ...and that is where your inaction has brought us. I wonder how that will look in your mayoral campaign literature? Sorry if you consider the truth hateful.
la_mouffette June 14, 2012 at 03:36 AM
I don't necessarily think a receiver, if we get one, is going to be a cause for celebration....this is going to be a rough ride, all around, no matter what happens. But I DO wish the city and state had met Baldelli-Hunt in the middle and agreed to her requests in exchange for passing the supplemental (that it would not automatically become part of the annual tax rate, that our Mayor would not be part of the commission, that there would be an external audit and investigation into our finances over the past few years, so we could really get down to brass tacks with accurate information...) Imagine, if Council President Ward and Mayor Fontaine had publicly petitioned the Governor to remove them from the Budget Commission in exchange for the supplemental? If it's the only thing that can save the city, what heroes they'd could have been.

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