October 20, 2008

Putting up Roadblocks to More Spending

Justin Katz

Whether or not Rhode Island voters pay so little attention to what they're doing that they'd confuse political ads from Massachusetts as applying to ballot questions in Rhode Island, I don't know. But as always, my recommendation is to vote "no" to transportation bonds — our Question 1:

Although it's described as an $87-million bond issue, the actual cost to the taxpayers would be much more when the associated costs are counted. The total cost would be $152 million, according to the secretary of state's Voter Information Handbook, including $64.7 million in interest, assuming that the bonds were paid off over 20 years at a 6-percent interest rate.

If money for transportation is as important as the government folks are saying — and we all know that it is — then it should be a primary expenditure in the budget, not an afterthought that requires voters to commit to more money. That's the game, of course: spend the general revenue on things that would never pass a direct vote and then ask for more money to fund what's necessary. The game has to end.

Rhode Islanders should shoot down the bond question and then demand that our representatives fund the DOT anyway.(without raising taxes). If we don't put our foot down, they'll never stop scamming us.

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Gee, maybe a little less money spent on 'assistant' positions at Capital TV and the other similar BS crony positions in government and we wouldn't NEED to put basic spending questions on the ballot.

It begs the question, if we are responsible enough to vote up or down money for roads and bridges, why not just put the whole budget, line for line, on the ballot and let us vote for it? We can save a lot of money by just getting rid of the GA seeing how they're pushing the budgetary questions onto the taxpayers anyways.

Posted by: Greg at October 20, 2008 7:28 AM

Until 100% of the gasoline excise tax money is devoted to road maintenance / building, then I say no to any transportation bond.

I haven't voted for one in over ten years, and the way the General Assembly works probably will not for the remainder of the time I'm here.

(I certainly wouldn't retire / have my tax residency in this tax hellhole.)

For a period of time I was involved with the historical society in my town, but then decided "why bother?" Though I may be here for another decade or two, Rhode Island isn't my ultimate future since I wouldn't retire here because of taxes, so though I've spend most of my life here, as far as I'm concerned now I'm just passing through.

Posted by: Tom W at October 20, 2008 8:38 AM


That's sad, given the many attractions of this state. I came here at 18 and now 40 years later I now feel the same way. The one party system and its attendant corruption, the entitlement mentality, the low performance for high taxes (versus MN and MA, for example) - this and more has a corrosive effect on the spirit.

Add to that the fact that I never, never, made a living in this state. Almost all my customers are out of state.

good luck wherever you wind up.

Posted by: chuckR at October 20, 2008 9:53 AM

Thinking of leaving? God speed,Tom W, god speed!

Posted by: OldTimeLefty at October 20, 2008 12:03 PM


I said that I certainly won't retire here, but may be here another decade or two. And as long as I'm here I plan on making myself a thorn in the side of the greedy forces of the status quo.

Knowing what I know now, I wish that I'd left RI after graduating from college (as most of my friends did because they couldn't find suitable employment here - that hasn't changed over the decades and is still the case. My old friends are all quite happy out on the West Coast - none express any interest in coming back to RI; quite the opposite).

I DO advise any young people of college age to learn from my mistake and that once out of school to get out of RI (and indeed the Northeast). While Rhode Island remains worse than regional averages, this entire region is in long term decline thanks to Democrat (a/k/a union) control.

It's hard enough to make your economic way in this world when conditions are neutral, or even positive. But it's damn near impossible when you're trying to swim against the Northeast's outgoing macroeconomic tide - particularly when you're forced to carry parasitic welfare recipients, over-compensated public sector union members and patronage hacks on your back.

Posted by: Tom W at October 20, 2008 12:51 PM

I agree, money for transportation should come out of the budget. What irks me is how they mention we get $4 from the federal government for every dollar we spend. When you factor in all the money we pay for interest over 20 years, the ratio changes significantly. Also, what does all this additional borrowing, which I believe is unnecessary, do to our bond rating?

Posted by: Damien Baldino at October 20, 2008 2:27 PM

"Rhode Islanders should shoot down the bond question and then demand that our representatives fund the DOT anyway.(without raising taxes). If we don't put our foot down, they'll never stop scamming us."

Good plan.

Posted by: Monique at October 20, 2008 4:14 PM

I'm with ya Tom. My wife and I use yearly vacations now to explore other locales for our retirement dollars. Warmer and saner are the two requirements.

Posted by: rhodeymark at October 20, 2008 8:17 PM


We've done the same.

The ideal would be two homes, one back in RI for the summer months.

If Rhode Island's tax situation were competitive, then it wouldn't be worth bothering changing places of residence, merely having a place somewhere else to escape the worst of the winter months here.

But taxes mean that the reverse is the ideal plan - establish residency someplace else and have a second place in RI to visit (meaning absolutely spending less than six months here, which means not spending money here either - but of course the Bozos in the General Assembly don't get the connection).

I don't think finances will permit two homes (particularly with the financial drag of RI property taxes), so the near inevitable result is that we just pull up stakes and leave RI for good.

Actually, I wish I could retire now, so can escape and not have to be here to endure the pending pension / collapsing infrastructure / business exodus driven fiscal collapse of this state.

Much better to watch it from afar, if one can.

Posted by: Tom W at October 20, 2008 10:12 PM
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