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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

3 responses to “Shame and betrayal as Burrillville enters into tax agreement with Invenergy”

  1. Johnnie

    “These agreements are NOT an endorsement of the power plant,” said the town council’s president in a statement announcing the agreement. “We are continuing to do everything we can to stop the plant from coming to Burrillville.” – Providence Journal online
    There was no mention of the power plant in The Journal’s print edition of today’s paper.

    “The people of Burrillville should shun these council members – or run them out of town.” You can quote me.

    Anyone who thinks a tax treaty was needed doesn’t understand what a tax treaty is, and is simply parroting the bullshit they are being fed – and paying for the advice. This tax treaty will grease the skids and make the building of the power plant much more likely.

    Does anyone think that Invenergy wants a tax treaty because it benefits the people of Burrillville? A tax treaty is for the people who will finance the plant, the investors. It spells out for them the rate of return over the life of the plant. It fixes costs, and is a cap on taxes regardless of what the plant and the electricity it produces is worth on capital markets.

    The Carlyle Group, a private equity firm with ties to the Bush family, bought the power plant in Johnston, with a tax treaty, last year from Entergy. Do you think Entergy lost money? Carlyle knew exactly what it was buying and their rate of return.

    The power plant in Johnston was built with a virtual blackout in the media. So many people in Johnston and elsewhere have no idea there is even a plant in Johnston near the landfill. Now these are mobsters worth emulating.

    Has anyone actually seen or read this tax treaty? I doubt it. Ask McElroy for a copy and he will give you another bullshit story. It does not matter that the public paid him for it.

    Have you ever seen a power plant or public utility lose money? They are guaranteed a rate of return from the “regulators” irrespective of the amount they are paying for the gas or diesel to produce the electricity. Do you think National Grid has ever lost money? Who do you think is paying for the upgrades to the gas and electric infrastructure? They never lose.

    A good example of this rate of return – that is closer to home – is the amount you are being charged by Verizon, Cox or the Dish network. The regulators at the PUC have given them a license to steal, just look at your bill. Years ago, they told us that TV was free because the commercials paid for it. Today we pay for TV and we still have commercials. Check out their profits and see what these “regulated” monopolies made last year.

    The guy in back of me lost his house after being laid off from Cox Cable. They rehired him about 9 months later as a part-time temp, with no benefits. He had worked for them for about 15 years.

    Remember the inimitable words of Bob Dylan: “Look out kids, they keep it all hid.” And: “The executioner’s face is always well hidden.”

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  2. salgal

    Truly a cliche. Small town government listening to bad advice because they don’t trust the wisdom of their own citizens. All they had to do was to ask themselves who had the most to gain by getting the treaty. CLEARLY, Mr. McElroy, though an attorney, could not possibly have constructed this elaborate political theater hoax, running for months, just for his own personal financial aid. I’m not suggesting he was paid off simply because I have no evidence. But he made it clear he wanted payment for his services to the Town Council and the upfront, unrestricted fees for Invenergy once a treaty was signed could be used for said purpose. So Mr. McElroy gained. Invenergy gained. The Town LOST.

    Mr. McElroy’s ludicrous justification that the fees could also be used to fight Invenergy indicates that somewhere along the line he realized the Town Council did not possess the same skill set as that of the citizens who showed up week after week to fight the good fight. How the Council could believe that the piddling upfront money they would receive from Invenergy once they signed a treaty could be used to fight a ruthless, dogged, fossil fuel energy hog with billions to spend on legal fees, is WAY beyond me.

    There is so much wrong with that treaty. So very weak. So capitulating. So surrendering.
    DEEPEST shame on the heads of the Burrillville Town Council. But the biggest heaping pile belongs on the head of Mr. McElroy for exploiting the Council for personal gain. Such a cliche.

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  3. Johnnie

    There are no victims at town hall, from the town manager on down – and that includes Burrillville’s state representative and state senator. All of them know what is going, and who has been pulling the strings, but have chosen the code of omertà.
    The only people being played, and who don’t know what’s going on, are the residents, taxpayers, and the general public. It happens every day.
    Why did the town solicitor resign? He was pushing the plant and the tax treaty and lying to the residents from day one. Look at some of the archival video on RIFuture.
    He didn’t resign because he is principled; so why? The thieves are now having a falling out among themselves – because things didn’t exactly go as planned – but no one will spill the beans because they will have to implicate themselves.

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