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.

4 responses to “Video: Why Flat Tax Hasn’t Worked For Rhode Island”

  1. DogDiesel

    We can’t afford the government we have so how would raising taxes on the ‘2 percent’ fix that and do all that George Nee says it will do. How does Massachusetts do it? I am not opposed to paying more for good government but that’s the rub. We aren’t getting our money’s worth. While you claim the tax rates have been flattening out, it is not a true flat tax when too many people are exempt.

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  2. Daniel Becker

    If we want to understand what progressive taxation is all about all we have to do is start looking at the old tax tables of the New Deal.  I have started that where I blog with these two posts.

    http://www.angrybearblog.com/2011/09/define-rich-part-iii-what-tax-tables-of.html

    This one looks at 1936:  http://www.angrybearblog.com/2012/03/defining-rich-vi-1936-tax-tables.html

    I also recall the argument for lowering our top rate was that it would bring more “rich” people into the state.  I have not seen any numbers on that account.  Pretty poor economic plan to rely on attracting rich people.  Then again, this is the state that thought it could build an economy on health care in the late 80’s. 

    The states overall problem is not one it can solve on its own.  This is a national policy problem and with states like Wis., OH, Ind, FL and the rest of the south we have a long road ahead of us.

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  3. RightToWork

    Rhode Island’s compounding structural problems aren’t going to be solved by higher taxes on anybody. It’s not a revenue problem, it’s a spending problem, and it’s only going to get worse without real spending reforms.

    The police and fire pensions that were handed out at 5-6% annual compounding COLA like hotcakes in the 1990’s are going to soar exponentially to over $1 million/year by the time those retirees are in their 90’s. We’re talking about hundreds and hundreds of people who retired at an average age of 47. There is no possible way the state can support those kinds of costs no matter how “progressive” its income tax policies. The self-interested unions are just trying to buy precious time with these bills to get theirs and get out before the whole system comes crashing down. They can do math – they know it can’t continue.

    The union contracts need to be broken. Not because “the rich” won’t pay their fair share, but because the terms cannot mathematically be sustained into the future and the General Assembly cannot legislate away reality. The law has avenues to make this transformation happen, even when the 100-200k pension retirees refuse to negotiate – it’s called Chapter 9 bankruptcy, and it will be performed in Federal court, out of the hands of those who created and perpetuate this mess.

    Rhode Island will learn to live within its means, and it will not be easy medicine for the patient to swallow.

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