Bob Plain is the editor/publisher of Rhode Island's Future. Previously, he's worked as a reporter for several different news organizations both in Rhode Island and across the country.

2 responses to “House budget bill: The good, the bad and the booze”

  1. Len Katzman

    Bob, the choice for the new Sakonnett River Bridge is not between what you describe as either, “a use fee (capitalism) or by the people of Rhode Island (socialism).”
    Tolls would only be an instance of capitalism if the bridge were privately built and privately owned and the profits from the tolls went to the owners. That’s not the case here. The bridge was built with public money from the people of Rhode Island, is owned by the state (at least for now) and toll money will go to pay for other bridge and road work in the state in locations where there are no tolls. A more apt comparison would be to a regressive tax because only some people will be paying into funds that maintain roads for all, and those who pay are required to do so without regard to their ability to pay.

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  2. Craig OConnor

    I would love to see a line item in the budget (or a cumulative of several) that explains exactly how much revenue we forego for each year based on tax breaks for corporations and individuals. I know there is a report that has this ifnofrmation, which states that RI forgoes ~$1,730,000,000 (available here: Including that firgure wouild increase the size of our budget about 20%. then, if we want to reduce the budget, we would make “cuts” to tax expenditures, by addressing the ones that don’t get the state what we hoped they would, instead of cutting spending that gets us exactly what we know it will – for example, cutting 6,500 people off of health coverage, which we know is a good investment in keeping people healthy, in the labor force and and builds our economy by supporting health care jobs.
    Some tax expenditures certainly are good and should remain, but even if we found 10% fat in our tax expenditures budget, we’d have an additional $173,000,000 to put towards improtant social investments like better schools and education for our children, more affordable higher education and job training, bridge and other infrastructure repairs, building local renewable energy projects and so on.
    And, in case anyone thinks this would somehow hurt the wealthy eleite, please keep in mind the richest RI residents pay the smallest amount of their income in overall taxes:

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