Monday, April 4, 2011


All should be very concerned about the new tax proposals set forth by our new Governor, Lincoln Chafee. However, the burden alone should not be his. The general population for far too long has been complacent and there has been no accountability of the our government officials. Rather than behave like public servants, many have behaved as if they are entitled and show little respect for the honor of being elected to public service.

Fingers are pointing in various directions, mostly at one another, and have successfully pitted citizens against citizens. Wall St. vs. public unions, public unions vs. private unions, taxpayers vs. public unions, non-Wall St. taxpayers vs. Wall St. taxpayers vs. public unions vs. private unions, non-profit profiteers vs. public unions and taxpayers, corporate america vs. corporate government, and the list goes on and on. Who are the losers? I would venture to say without any hesitation, all of us. However, the biggest losers will be the kids who will be greeted with the heavy burdens of our irresponsibility and the leftover devastation from our "civil" war. So, when we are all ready to berate Mr. Chafee for at least making an effort to do what it is he is Constitutionally bound to do, we should first look at ourselves in the mirror. We are all just as responsible.

What he has thus far been greeted with is the continued lack of necessary sacrifice on the part of everyone. It is legitimate for citizen taxpayers to be angry for having to carry the load of the long spent abuses. At the end of the day though, we have to ask the questions, and become part of the solution.

Recently, the Providence Journal reported that there were seventy-five individuals who are collecting more than $100,000.00 annually as a pension, nearly five times the amount of the median income of $22,000.00 of R.I.. Many, not all of those individuals, appear to believe that they are entitled to collect such pensions. The question must be asked, why? Some of them have continued in public service with minimal to no pay, but that is not the majority. With our cost of living here in Rhode Island, $100,000.00 is not a ton of money. One must pause however, when, the majority of the population must work four to five jobs to make as much.

So, lets bring some hope through civic action and demand accountability. In order to become part of the solution, and not the continued problem, it is high time we take a hard look at what's going on rather than rant and rave on radio talk shows, throw sludge, and further indebt our State into a serious depression.

Here are a few thoughts and questions to begin with and some possible solutions:

Providence was founded on the principles of freedom and responsibility. Providence is a divine name and represents to so many a haven of relief. Lets take a look.

What is the tax burden on the City of Providence? Is it the janitors, schools, fire department, police department, hospitals? Are these "services" essential to the city of Providence? Are there too many employees to deal with what is actually necessary? What do the Citizens "need" rather than what they want?

Let's ask then, how many businesses exist in the City of Providence? Do they create services or weigh on them? Do these businesses contribute to the cost of services?

How many of these business are tax exempt? How does this impact the need of services vs. the cost?

What are the salaries of Brown University, Roman Catholic Bishop of Providence, Johnson and Wales, who employ Rhode Islanders? How much do they weigh on the services that the City of Providence must fund?

Why has the State of Rhode Island provided a law which exempts "Estates, persons, and families of the president and professors for the time being of Brown University for not more than ten thousand dollars ($ 10,000) for each officer, the officer's estate, person, and family included, but only to the extent that any person had claimed and utilized the exemption prior to, and for a period ending either on or after December 31, 1996"

One must pause and ask why there was ever such a law at all?

Why are "Buildings for free public schools, buildings for religious worship, and the land upon which they stand and immediately surrounding them, to an extent not exceeding five (5) acres so far as the buildings and land are occupied and used exclusively for religious or educational purposes" tax exempt?

What are the implications? Do the existence of these buildings create services which would otherwise not exist?

Why are many of the religious institutions and otherwise, NOT paying taxes?

Is this R.I. Statute violative of the First, Tenth, and Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution?

Why, if the City of Providence is broke, are the Providence taxpayers paying a former State employee $150,000.00 while collecting more than $100,000.00 as an annual pension?

These and other questions must be answered by those who chose to run for public office and were elected.

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