2013 Budget Fails: Who’s Really Running our Lives?

Quick Links: further analysis of 2013 budget; Report Card on RI Competitiveness

2013 Budget Fails to be Bold

I don’t know about you, but the spectacle of General Assembly members congratulating each other for passing a self-proclaimed “bold” 2013 Budget for Rhode Island and outwardly celebrating by pointing out the tax hikes that they didn’t impose on our citizens and businesses might make you think that our state’s economy is “just fine”.

The measure of a good budget should not be mild improvements to a bad budget proposed by the governor. A few legislators, who understood the shortcomings and economic harm the budget would inflict on some, saw their common sense amendments systematically shot down, one after another.

The whole charade is disturbing to me and should be troubling to all citizens; it is indicative of the tax and spend culture that has become so firmly ensconced on Smith Hill

For example, with regard to the new tax on taxi services, consider cab drivers, who, on average, earn pay near the poverty level. All they want is the freedom to earn a living of their choice. Instead, because of the new sales tax on their industry, they will now see their business, their tips and their profits reduced; they will have to jump through hoops to collect and remit the sales tax to the government; and they will suffer the professional ignominy of having their service trade singled-out as one that must help fund the state’s voracious spending habit. Do you think that today … taxi drivers feel that they are in full control of their own lives?

The Political Class calls this tax an “investment” that is necessary for what they deem are more important programs. Most of us just call it more “wasteful spending” to feed their never-ending appetite for government dependency.

How long will it be before they come after your business sector? After all, in the past few years, a number of industries have been threatened with new tax increases, and regrettably, not all were able to escape the assault.

When I speak with pro business groups, even they consider it a “victory” when certain industries, who have good lobbyists, somehow managed to elude taxation – at least for now. What is the matter with our state? These are not victories. These are symptoms of a culture of failure. What Rhode Island needs is a new “winning” culture.

What our state needs is a new, pro business tax policy that will lead to economic growth and more jobs. The 2013 budget fails in this regard.

What our state needs is to upgrade our standing in all those national categories where we rank last or near the bottom. The 2013 budget fails in this regard.

What our state needs is real relief for the massive pension and health benefits liabilities facing our cities and towns. The 2013 budget also fails in this regard.

What our state needs is freedom of choice for disadvantaged students and families who are condemned to a failed school. The 2013 budget fails in this regard, as well.

And yet, they celebrate. And no one else steps forward to lead.

I am left wonder how many Rhode Islanders are wondering themselves about who’s running their lives. Do we each really still own that sacred freedom? Or is the State now our boss? One that dictates and manages more and more parts of our individual lives by herding us into more and more collective, politically-created buckets?

Do not be fooled by all the self-aggrandized back-slapping. Unless you can afford a strong lobbying group, they are likely scheming to manage you and your business next.

Read our Zero.Zero Sales Tax Executive Summary here …

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