Why is the NRA more pleased with the predominantly Democratic legislature in Rhode Island than gun safety groups? Why do anti-abortion groups have more access to lawmakers than their pro-choice counterparts? Why did our elected officials cut taxes to the rich, payments to struggling cities and towns and the pensions of public sector workers? Why is Rhode Island the only blue state with a voter ID law?
Sam Bell, director of the Rhode Island Progressive Democrats, told NBC10 News Conference this weekend that it’s because the Governor Gina Raimondo and the Rhode Island General Assembly are significantly more conservative than Hillary Clinton and national Democratic Party and are more ideologically aligned with traditional Republicans.
“I think one thing people don’t realize about how politics works in our state is that the people who dominate the Democratic caucuses in the General Assembly – both the House and the Senate, to a lesser degree – really seem to stand with the national Republican Party on the core issues that divide the two parties at the national level,” Bell to Bill Rappleye.
Bell said the recent top tier tax cuts were the among the largest ever and that car taxes, which hit lower income people harder, were increased to finance this tax break to Rhode Island’s richest residents.
“There’s just no evidence that Rhode Islanders stand with any of these extreme conservative policies that the leaders of the General Assembly are pushing,” he said. While local elected officials like to use the term “business friendly,” Bell said, the policies they push tend to hurt small businesses.
Afterwards, Jon Brien and I debated Bell’s assertion. Brien said the problem is “economic Robin Hoods” who want to take other people’s money while I countered that “economic sheriffs of Nottingham” who want to take other people’s money are the problem.