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Chafee says his tax plan is understood

September 30, 2010

Gubernatorial rivals — particularly Democrat Frank Caprio keep trying to make political hay out of independent Lincoln Chafee’s plan for a one pecent sales tax on currently exempt items. So a key question is whether Chafee has effectively communicated his rationale (as he puts it, a little more sales tax bite is preferable to property tax increases or further cuts in aid to cities and towns).

Asked about this during his jobs plan news conference in Pawtucket this morning, Chafee responded by saying voters get it:

I think they understand. I really do. When times are tough, people really listen a little more carefully, and times are tough. It’s the worst economy I’ve ever seen in Rhode Island.

The ProJo’s Kathy Gregg asked whether Caprio was seizing on that bad economy, pointing to Chafee as the man who will raise taxes. Chafee’s response:

My job is to ask, what is your plan? And as recently as yesterday, he still had no plan.

Chafee was apparently referring to how Caprio talked of cutting state departments, but wouldn’t elaborate when asked for details. Caprio also pointed to what he calls his record of saving money in the treasurer’s office.

During an earlier part of his news conference, Chafee called on his gubernatorial opponents to match his own specificity:

I’ve taken the courage to tell the people, this is how I’m going to solve the budget deficit . . . . I’m asking my fellow candidates for governor, please tell us the specifics of how you’re going to address this budget deficit. Don’t wait until after the election. We want to, we the voters want to know now. We have a month left. Please tell us now.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Regressive Tax Plan permalink
    September 30, 2010 7:27 pm

    If ordinary Rhode Islanders understand Chafee’s tax plan, all the more reason he’ll be in trouble.

    Unlike a progressive tax proposal, where millionaires (a group that includes Lincoln Chafee) pay more, Lincoln Chafee’s plan to tax food, clothing, domestic energy sources, disability equipment, medicine, college rent, nursing homes, etc. will put the highest burden onto working and poor families.

    Think about it: if food, clothing and all of the other costs of living go up by a fixed %, which they do under Chafee’s plan, and yachts and mansions stay the same price, who will see the highest PERCENTAGE of their yearly income go to paying Chafee’s taxes? Poor people!

    as a progressive, I prefer progressive taxation, but regressive taxation is worse than nothing at all. Chafee’s not really changed that much from his old days in the Senate.

  2. Better than Frank permalink
    September 30, 2010 9:13 pm

    Chafee’s plan is much more progressive than Caprio’s plan, which is to support the Bush tax cuts on the wealthy. If you are a progressive then there is no way you could support Frank Caprio at all. His plan is to cut services, cut taxes on the elite, and keep raising the most regressive tax of all…the property tax.

  3. joe vileno permalink
    October 4, 2010 8:28 pm

    Caprio’s plan is a mixed bag of different things designed to reduce the deficit and create jobs, it recognizes the complexity in solving today’s econoic problems within the context of a national/global economy. Chafee’s plan is simple and simply stated as he himself says it is. And the impact of Chafee’s plan will be simple too–raise taxes to continue to support generous public pensions which we cannot continue to afford as these pension plans have not paid for themselves in decades, but are supported bt tax revenues in addition to employee contributions and investment returns.. Some kind of relief is critical lest even those eligible for employee pensions now may not have it in the near future and we do owe it to them to keep a promise. Caprio offers a hybrid plan as a way out of this dilemma. The unfunded liability is stupendous for the state and city pensions. Chafee admits his 1% sales tax, though onerous on low and medium income families, will only raise 20 to 30 million dollars, not nearly enough for suibstantial deficit reduction or penmsion reform.

    Chafee says “trust Chafee”, for what ? He is admittedly candid about raising taxes but his sense of the dimension of the problem is simplistic, he has no plan despite his claim that he does. He has to support a tax raise because he has committed himself to an ultra progressive agenda the state cannot afford now and he has done that for the most crass and deceptive reasons, to get votes !

    Caprio is saying we cannot afford all the pension dollars or heavy entitlements, we must trim, tighten the belt and bring about some structural reform. Some if it is Obama-esque, some of it is fiscal control, but mostly it is realistic. Chafee is a nice fellow, honest, somthing of a ‘psuedo-outsider’ in this anti-incumbent culture, but he cannot deal with complexity. He had the courage and the single/simple-mindedness to oppose Bush on Iraq, but he supported most of the Cheney/Rove agenda and as a senator demonstrated none of the negotiating skills or ability to craft good legislation with the ‘other side’ of the aisle that his father was famous for in the Senate. He is not a “chip off the old block” but a splinter that fell by the side.

  4. October 4, 2010 8:36 pm

    Good piece Scott, I guess you saw the NY Time sunday article on the secrecy of donors for TV ads in the current election season. As you remind us, Brandeis was right on– let the sunshine on those who try to influence us, not like the Koch btohers and Rupert Murdoch and Fox News, who practice with clandestine methods.

    Our little state lost a great man in Ben Mondor–we are better for having had him with us !

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