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Steve Ahlquist is an award-winning journalist, writer, artist and founding member of the Humanists of Rhode Island, a non-profit group dedicated to reason, compassion, optimism, courage and action. The views expressed are his own and not necessarily those of any organization of which he is a member.

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"We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.” - Elie Weisel

“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor." - Desmond Tutu

"There comes a time when neutrality and laying low become dishonorable. If you’re not in revolt, you’re in cahoots. When this period and your name are mentioned, decades hence, your grandkids will look away in shame." - David Brooks

2 responses to “Dead millionaires among Speaker Mattiello’s top priorities”

  1. cailin rua

    “Ruggiero estimated changing the estate tax would lose the state between $17 and $23 million a year.”

    When one starts adding up these millions here and millions there, one soon starts to talk about real money.

    For the life of me, I understand why the pols don’t give David Norton’s One State, One Tax policy a chance. I agree that Governor Raimondo’s proposal is regressive but it makes me cynical that none of the so called transportation activists get worked up about giveaways like this, of which there are so many.

    The Rhode Island Foundation has entry after entry on Google, advertising their estate planning services:

    “Through these collaborative efforts, clients and their advisors can be confident that the Rhode Island Foundation will steward their charitable legacy for generations to come.”

    Their Professional Advisory Council chair even has something called the “Dynasty Trust”:

    “. . . . assisted a client with respect to leveraged gifts of his business interests. With the use of two successful Grantor Retained Annuity Trusts, the client was able to transfer over $4.3 million to a long-term trust for the benefit of his descendants at a cost of only $2 of his lifetime gift tax exemption. . . .

    Dynasties for the wealthy and legally well represented. Use taxes and driving penalties for the rest of us . . . one way or another, they’re gonna getcha, getcha, getcha, so it’s you who ends up paying their bills.

    Alan Hassenfeld moved, didn’t he? And we’re to believe it is progressives he bankrolls. Why do I have so much trouble believing that?

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  2. MrMayorSir

    RI Future gives the RI Small Business Economic Summit much too much play for the impact it has, which is next to nothing. The Summit committee agendas and committee chairs, who are basically cronies of the SBA District Director, have been basically the same for the last ten years. It is interesting that the major promoter of the Summit is the US Small Business Administration and the moderator is a federal government bureaucrat. A good way to spend (waste) taxpayer dollars.

    The Summit Tax Committee has been pushing raising the estate tax exemption for at least ten years. The Chair of the Committee is an retired accountant who sold his business and made a few million dollars. Hello? Of course he wants the exemption increased, for himself and his wealthy clients.

    Someone needs to ask the proponents of raising the estate tax exemption for a list of rich people who actually moved out of RI because of the estate tax. It’s nonsense and no list will ever be produced. Few wealthy RI’ers are going to move out of the state just because of the estate tax. Ask the Tax Committee Chair if he’s planning to move. Ask Mr. Hazen White if he’s planning to move. You may get some threatening pledge “to consider it if things don’t change” but in reality they are going nowhere and there is no way there are going to uproot their families, leave the superior medical care and education environment, and walk away from all of the attention that they covet to save dollars because of the estate tax.

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