September 16, 2005

Do they Believe their own Spin on Laffey's Record?

Carroll Andrew Morse

According to the Projo, both the National Republican Senatorial Committee and the Chafee campaign disapprove of Steve Laffey's fiscal policies as Mayor of Cranston. The Projo article, however, leaves a couple of questions unanswered...

To the National Republican Senate Committee and to the Chafee campaign: Does your disapproval of Steve Laffey's fiscal policies lead you to conclude that the people of Cranston would have been better off with Aram Garabedian, Gary Reilly, or John Mancini as their Mayor?

Also to the Chafee campaign: If you believe that Steve Laffey made poor fiscal decisions as Mayor of Cranston, why did you encourage him to run for statewide office?

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Doesn't the NRSC have Democrats to attack?

It looks like Santorum could use their help in PA.

Why would anyone give to the NRSC when they can just give the money directly to candidates of their choice?

Posted by: Sentinel at September 17, 2005 11:46 PM

I'll echo what he said! It's not like Mayor Laffey had a lot of choices at his disposal, trying to fix up the mess in Cranston that he was left with. Sure, he had to raise taxes a few times in order to balance the budget, which had a massive hole in it (a balanced budget is required by law). The tax increases were also necessary in order to stabilize Cranston's bond rating, which was then the lowest in America. The bond rating's determine the city's ability to borrow money in order to meet short term cash flow issues, and to pay for long term projects.
Since virtually all of the money was locked up into one-sided union contracts, he simply had no alternative. He can't stop essential functions, like maintaining the roads, picking up the trash, and educating the kids, etc. There are certain basic functions that a city has to do. I'm sure given his preferences, he would have preferred not to be in a position where he was forced to raise any taxes. That being said, thank goodness he did. Cranston's budget is now balanced, the bond rating is now investment grade and rising (no longer junk bonds), and the city is on the move again. There is now real economic growth and jobs being created there. Eventually, all that growth will allow for tax cuts, to make up for those temporary raises. When a guy is handed a pile of hamburger, don't expect him to make you filet mignon!

Posted by: Will at September 18, 2005 1:42 AM

Unfortunately those tax increases were inflicted on a city that saw a reduced population. While a tax increase might have been necessary, the conservative way to turn around Cranston would have been to promote growth at the same time by attracting new companies and creating new jobs in Cranston. Doing so would have resulted in an expanded tax base and resulted in less of a need to raise taxes, but for whatever reason (convenience?) this was never done.

Posted by: Anthony at September 18, 2005 10:13 PM

And to answer the question posed, I think all of the people mentioned would have taken the same route and raised taxes. It's the bureaucrat's way a "problem-solving". They other candidates may have done it less flamboyantly than Laffey, but they all would have done the same thing.

So I don't want to hear from Democrats who tax the heck out of everyone or from Laffey supporters who think he showed some type of financial genius by raising taxes to close a budget deficit.

Posted by: Anthony at September 18, 2005 10:17 PM