I am the Rhode Island State Coordinator for the Progressive Democrats of America. My primary interest is Rhode Island's economy and what we can do to fix it.
By Samuel Bell on April 26, 2017
With Congress back from recess, we have returned to a drumbeat of congressional votes on the Trump agenda. Rhode Island senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse voted against former Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue, Trump’s pick for agriculture secretary. While nine members of the Democratic caucus in the Senate joined Reed and Whitehouse in voting no, most […]
By Samuel Bell on April 12, 2017
For the past year or so, I’ve been involved in a debate with well-respected transit policy expert James Kennedy, who curates the Transport Providence blog. The question is whether the car tax is regressive or progressive. I say it’s very regressive, and Kennedy says it isn’t. Kennedy’s core argument is that many poor people don’t have […]
By Samuel Bell on February 19, 2017
In the video, which was recorded in January right before Trump was sworn in, Mattiello, says, “we should be supportive of the President-elect.”
By Samuel Bell on January 27, 2017
Update: After publication of this post, Reed announced he opposes the nomination of Betsy DeVos to be secretary of the Department of Education. All but two Democratic members of the United States Senate have publicly opposed at least one Trump nominee. They are Heidi Heitkamp, who represents the very red state of North Dakota, and […]
By Samuel Bell on November 22, 2016
I take Langevin at his word. I suspect he is still with Pelosi and merely bungled the statement. Yet there is the other possibility, one that should be chilling for progressives. Perhaps he is actively considering becoming a conservative dissident and voting against Pelosi.
By Samuel Bell on October 10, 2016
Jeanine Calkin’s upset win over Senate President Pro Tem Bill Walaska was a centerpiece of the progressive movement’s wave of victories in this year’s primaries. For a behind the scenes look at the Calkin campaign, RI Future sat down with Campaign Manager Capri Catanzaro.
By Samuel Bell on September 18, 2016
There are those who want to give credit for what we accomplished in the September primary to some vague anti-incumbent sentiment, or even tolls. I’m writing this piece to dispel that notion. Progressives won big on Tuesday for two reasons: hard work and Rhode Islanders’ commitment to progressive change. This victory truly belongs to the […]
By Samuel Bell on May 23, 2016
When we talk about the Rhode Island economy, we tend to focus mostly on what’s going on in the public sector and the corporate sector. It’s easy to forget about ordinary households. But individual consumers form the heart of our economy. We are the ones who power growth, and when numbers move in the behemoth […]
By Samuel Bell on April 27, 2016
Bernie Sanders’s surprise double-digit win was undeniably the big story of the night, but progressives can find even more good news from the turnout numbers. At 121,923, total Democratic turnout was a whopping 98.6 percent higher than the GOP’s 61,394. To put this in perspective, Obama only won 77.9 percent more votes than Romney. To […]
By Samuel Bell on February 15, 2016
Providence Democratic School Board Chair Nicholas Hemond announced his endorsement of Republican Ohio Governor John Kasich, writing, “John Kasich should be president of the United States.” In an email, Hemond elaborated, saying, “I just appreciate the guy’s measured tone in a race that has been such a circus.”
By Samuel Bell on February 9, 2016
Republican Reps Patricia Morgan and Dan Reilly have been making a major push to stop the truck tolls in the RhodeWorks proposal, yet have signed onto a bill that would drastically expand tolls in Rhode Island.
By Samuel Bell on January 18, 2016
PolitiFactRI has a history of sloppy reporting and conservative bias that has generated national attention. But a piece on whether developers deserve huge cash handouts broke new ground.
By Samuel Bell on May 13, 2015
This Thursday at 6pm, the Finance Committee of the Providence City Council is meeting to consider a generous tax break proposed for the Custom House downtown office building. Currently, the Custom House is downtown office space, and the developers want to convert the upper floors to apartments. And they want public money to do it. […]
By Samuel Bell on March 9, 2015
The central contention of the real Democratic movement in Rhode Island is probably this: Since the right-wing Democrats rose to power under Bill Murphy in 2003, their bad economic policies have driven our economy into the ground. But one niggling alternate possibly has always bothered me. It’s boring and wonkish. It’s also easily checked by […]
By Samuel Bell on January 5, 2015
When Mayor Angel Taveras and Council President Michael Solomon hiked car taxes to balance the Providence budget a few years ago, they did not just hike car taxes on working families. They also cut taxes for cars worth more than about $24,000. Before the hike, the car tax had a $6000 exemption and a rate […]
By Samuel Bell on January 4, 2015
Kansas’s tax cuts for the rich were one of the biggest state policy stories of 2014. Sam Brownback, an ambitious conservative Republican, swept into the Governor’s office in 2010 and pushed for massive tax cuts for the rich. And he got them. By 2014, the top marginal income tax rate had fallen by 1.65 points, […]
By Samuel Bell on July 14, 2014
Property taxes are very high in Providence. Each year, homeowners must pay 1.925% of the value of their homes to the city. At 3.375%, the rate on apartments is even higher, and at 3.675%, the rate on commercial property is higher still. But when the wealthiest developers build big projects, the story tends to go a […]
By Samuel Bell on June 16, 2014
There is little doubt that that Rhode Island will one day regulate marijuana like alcohol. The political winds are just too strong. The nation supports it. And we are a solid blue state. Even among the few Republicans, Ron Paul scored better here than he did in all but two other primaries. The real question […]
By Samuel Bell on June 12, 2014
The Rhode Island House of Representatives has put together a new budget, and there is a lot not to like. Here are my top five: 5. Slashing the corporate income tax from 9% to 7%. New House Speaker Mattiello, a very conservative Democrat from Cranston, has been championing this idea ever since he rose […]
By Samuel Bell on March 19, 2014
Gina Raimondo’s recent policy proposal on infrastructure raises a lot of math questions, but here’s one of the most glaring: How is she going to pay for the $60 million she wants to spend each year on school construction? She really doesn’t say. She tells us she’ll simply find the money by “taking just half of […]