February 12, 2009

No More Political Cover

Justin Katz

This is an instructive episode:

A House vote to raise the state's cigarette tax by $1 a pack — to what would be the highest level in the nation — was aborted at the last minute yesterday after Republican Governor Carcieri yanked his support from his own tax-raising proposal.

Carcieri's eleventh-hour move was announced by a visibly annoyed House Finance Committee Chairman Steven Costantino on the House floor, the unexpected development punctuated by this uncharacteristic utterance by House Speaker William J. Murphy: "Get it out of here!"

Earlier in the day, Murphy had said raising the cigarette tax "doesn't bother me" because people choose to smoke.

It appears that the General Assembly Democrats would very much like to raise taxes as a way out of their personal-special-interest-debt conundrum... but not without cover. I say that the governor should finally learn this lesson: Go for the conservative gold and declare that anything less is the full property of the legislature. Make them wear it. Make them fight for every ounce of political cover that he's willing to give as part of negotiations.

Meanwhile, remind them that the clock is ticking and that the bomb is on their desk.

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What the governor needs is a director of communications. You know, someone who can get his message out there.

What? Oh, never mind.

Posted by: chuckr at February 12, 2009 1:21 PM

I don't understand why the Gov needs to play nice any more. What should he care about negotiating anything. Start using that bully pulpit. Blast away. Get all the little secrets out there now. He doesn't have any more elections or mid-term elections. This is his last Assembly. They can override any veto he throws at them, so put it all out there. Put something out daily on what they're doing and saying and what the status is. What's he care? Get it done, show everyone the man behind the curtain and let us see all the dirty politics that go on. He's done, so take a few of them down with him. Why not, the left hates him anyway, drag them down with him.

Posted by: Patrick at February 12, 2009 1:24 PM

It smells like The Don put the cigarette tax in his budget proposal just so he could pull off the grandstand play of removing it.
The purpose of a cigarette tax isn't just to raise revenue; it's to discourage people from smoking and keeping the state's health care costs under control. But he's never given a damn about that before; why would he change now?

Posted by: rhody at February 12, 2009 1:33 PM

Majority Leader Bob Watson, bless his soul, has been working diligently to kill this cigarette tax raising plan since jump street.

Maybe he's finally talked some sense into the Governor?

(Don't respond telling me about how bad Watson is on social issues. I know. He's great on fiscal issues though, which is all we need these days.)

Posted by: Rasputin at February 12, 2009 1:33 PM

Rhody-if the Governor makes a political move it always "smells" to you.He's not in office to please the GA.
Most of the GA seems to be there to help themselves and their families.They have the Charles Schumer view of the public as docile sheep.
The GA has used one timers more than the Boston Bruins to dance around the deficit mess.Now they're waiting on the Obama bailout bill.When they've squandered that and there's still not enough,I think they may just meet their comeuppance.
Last night I watched "Dr"Dan Weisman,a professional troublemaker for the ACLU with three of his proteges from the GA.
Charles Levesque,David Segal,and Edith Ajello-they just acquiesced in unison(yes,sir,yes,sir,3 bags full)to Weisman's demented idea of a legislative program.
Weisman is a "doctor"of social work.He and his wife are responsible for the nationwide ban on any prayers at graduation;he is virulently anti-2nd amendment;and he does everything possible to help illegal aliens evade apprehension.This guy is a destructive pest just like his cohort Steven Brown.
Kind of like boll weevils.They are on their high horse now that Obama is in.That won't last too long if the clusterf**k going on in DC keeps up.the country will deteriorate and it will get harder by the day to push it off on Bush(although he does deserve a lot of blame)-their false gods,Bawney Fwank,Chuck the Schmuck,Pelosi,Reid,Sheldon Outhouse,etc. will reap the whirlwind created by their nearly unilateral Ponzi scheme"stimulus".
The ACLU literally controls the votes of numerous key GA members including Paiva-Weed-she said as much herself when she admitted that she checked with them on all important legislation and took their guidance.
I don't believe Murphy is their mind slave,but they do have plenty of termites in our legislature.

Posted by: joe bernstein at February 12, 2009 2:23 PM

Then why did Carcieri put it there in the first place? All I'm saying is if he didn't want any cigarette tax in the budget, he should've just not put it out there in the first place.

Posted by: rhody at February 12, 2009 4:37 PM

I think he's still planning on raising the cigarette tax, since it's one of the few non-broad based taxes left. However, I think he's holding off as part of a strategy to make sure that the General Assembly makes spending cuts or other adjustments, before he gives them the opportunity to raise taxes on anything. I think he's just concerned that the tax will be raised, but nothing will be cut, and he'll get burned by them (again).

Posted by: Will at February 12, 2009 4:57 PM

Then why did Carcieri put it there in the first place? All I'm saying is if he didn't want any cigarette tax in the budget, he should've just not put it out there in the first place.

Posted by rhody at February 12, 2009 4:37 PM

A pedophile apologist like you just can't understand that the $40 million in fee hikes is LINKED to the $330 million in cuts to your scummy union/welfare/crony pals. Your heroes in the GA don't get one without the other-unless they want to override. Which they just proved themselves gutless to do. Looks to me like a "tail" of 6 Republicans just wagged a 69 strong "dog".
Not bad for a "lame duck" hah Sedonio, I mean Rhody?

Posted by: Mike at February 12, 2009 7:01 PM

I'm with you Mike. The Gov went "boo" and Billy Murphy wet his pants. Hilarious! Wish the Gov would just stick to his fiscal principles and rage against the Gen Ass at every turn. He has nothing to lose. Why doesn't he get it?

Posted by: Tim at February 12, 2009 8:17 PM

I don't know the Governor's motives, but I oppose a cigarette tax because it is a tax, period. It is a tax I would never have to pay, but it is more money out of people's pockets at a time when most people are already having to deal with increased costs.

Rhody, I just don't trust our legislature to take cigarette tax revenue and use it exclusively for health-related services. It is just more for them to spend at a time when they should be looking for ways to spend less.

Posted by: George at February 12, 2009 10:41 PM

Re: the 7:01 post:
When were the inmates at the IMH given Internet access? That's a budget cut right there (but then that individual would be out committing felonies instead of tossing 7-year-old-caliber insults online).

Posted by: rhody at February 13, 2009 10:20 AM

When were the inmates at the IMH given Internet access?

5 minutes before your first post on this bog?

Posted by: Mike at February 13, 2009 7:39 PM

Mike's obsession with me continues apace, knowing neither he nor his crew, posse, tong, gang, whatever will ever touch me. It may leave him sleepless at night.
I love it.

Posted by: rhody at February 14, 2009 9:29 PM
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