April 12, 2011

First Fallout of the Chafee (Not Even Anywhere Near Implemented) Sales Tax: Taco Suspends Expansion Project

Monique Chartier

The Providence Business News broke this a little earlier.

Groundbreaking for a $15 million to $18 million addition at Taco Inc., originally scheduled for the end of April, has been delayed while company officials assess the impact of proposed state tax changes on the manufacturing business.

According to Kyle Adamonis, senior vice president of human resources and legal affairs, the company that manufactures HVAC equipment and employs about 400 workers at the Cranston facility has put on hold plans for expansion of its learning center. All local approvals are in place, she said.

The tax changes proposed by Gov. Lincoln D. Chafee include expansion of the sales tax. Depending on what tax changes are put into place, “it could cost us more to do business in this state,” Adamonis said. “We are reviewing the potential costs.” The General Assembly is expected to act on tax changes as part of its work preparing the state fiscal year 2012 operating budget.

The Governor and his admin appears to be laboring under the misapprehension that revenue generated by an expanded sales tax is just money lying around waiting to be grabbed without consequences. As Governor Chafee's Director of Administration, Richard Licht, averred earlier on the Dan Yorke Show, the Chafee administration, remarkably, views this as a tax on consumers, not on businesses.

The administration seems gormless of the reality that the effects of the proposed expansion of the sales tax would not be limited to consumers but would, in fact, become yet another burden to be born by businesses struggling to survive in a state that already has one of the worst business climates in the country.

The Chafee admin may be unaware but, clearly, this fact has not escaped the notice of Rhode Island businesses, as evidenced by Taco's announcement today. One business is already constricting at even the suggestion of a broadening of the sales tax. What would the consequences be if the proposal actually goes into effect?


As Patrick points out, the audio of Dan Yorke's interview with Richard Licht is now available at WPRO.

And tomorrow, John Hazen White, Jr., President and CEO of Taco, will appear on the Dan Yorke Show.

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You know the Gov's office has someone patrolling the blogs, so I'll say right here that I got no problem stating when I think Yorke sounds like a jerk or asks dumb questions or is unfair.

However, today Licht came across as an a-hole on the show. He showed up after telling someone that he was going to show Yorke a thing or two and rip him a new one. All he did was make himself sound like an idiot. If he thought he'd gain sympathy or even empathy with the listeners, he screwed up big time. He did the opposite. Now I think even worse of Chafee for the people he surrounds himself with.

Dan said the interview will be downloadable today. You really only need to hear the first five minutes to get the whole gist of attitude Licht came on the air with. Palpable.

Posted by: Patrick at April 12, 2011 4:43 PM

Licht(pronounced "leech",how apt)is a political failure who is not elected to any office at present-but he feels qualified to give decrees to the people.
I met him once at an event where my wife and some other folks were receiving certificates for completing a community leadership course(her job required her to attend)-well,Jack reed,Fogarty,and Buddy Cianci showed up.They kept it strictly non-political and kind of just routinely courteous-so I step outside the room to take a leak and on the way back in Licht is there,hanging out like sleazy parasite.He gives me the rush act and starts shaking my hand(I didn't know him personally at all)and starts in on how he's running for senator in the primary and all.
I just said I wouldn't vote for him if he were the only guy on the ballot.
I'm glad I forgot to wash my hands.
This creep is a prime example of a political legacy turd(his uncle was Governor)who had a bite of the apple until regular people tuned into what a POS he was.
He makes Fogarty look like Mary Poppins.
(Fogarty is at least a nice individual).
And this jerk and Trainor(all Iknow about him is he took RI public funds and opened a failed business in CT)are the Edgar Bergens to the hapless Charlie McCarthy guv.Actually Charlie McCarthy had more on the ball.

Posted by: joe bernstein at April 12, 2011 5:17 PM

"I happen to be a lawyer and I understand and listen very carefully to questions."

Yeah, he came off like a total a-hole.

Posted by: Dan at April 12, 2011 6:34 PM

Joe-you hit the spot as usual on "Leech".
Party of da workin people my ass.

Posted by: Tommy Cranston at April 12, 2011 6:48 PM

Dick Leech is a poster child for everything that is wrong with Rhode Island. A smarmy arrogant slimey inside playa.

Would love to see Taco move out of RI. There is literally no future here to build upon.

Posted by: Tim at April 12, 2011 8:00 PM

Back it up here for a second. Hazen White Jr. donated the maximum amount of money allowed by law to Lincoln Chafee. I wish people around here would just do their homework.

Posted by: Rasputin at April 12, 2011 9:17 PM


The State BOE website shows two contributions totaling $1,000 in the last gubernatorial cycle to John Robitaille, from a John H. White employed by Taco Inc.

(Coincidentally, there is also a John Whitehead who gave $200 to Lincoln Chafee in the same cycle).

Posted by: Andrew at April 12, 2011 9:34 PM

Of course JHW slid Chafee some $ - that's called hedging the bet he put on Robitaille. That's how the big corporate players do it, like the ones that slide enough $ to corporate Dems to inoculate themselves against any charge that they're in bed with the GOP.
Well played, Mr. White.

Posted by: bella at April 14, 2011 11:57 AM
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