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State Report: Millions in Tax Credits, Voter Fraud & a Female Firefighter Sues the City

Saturday, August 18, 2012


This week GoLocal focuses on a pair legal stories, one of which involves allegations of voter fraud against Rep. David Cicilline. The second involves a female firefighter who claims that she was gravely mistreated by her male coworkers while on the job. Aside from legal matters, compassion centers and the state's recycling are also on the docket. Lastly, we examine the state's Fiscal Year 2012 Tax Credit report. Are you interested to see what important information the report yielded? Well, keep reading to find out.

Gemma says Cicilline is tied to voter fraud

What would election season be without accusations of voter fraud? On Thursday, Congressional Candidate Anthony Gemma announced that he will hold a press conference next week in which he’ll present evidence of voter fraud against his opponent Rep. David Cicilline. Although he did not delve into the details, Gemma contends that voters should prepare themselves for a “stunning political revelation.”
Gemma posted the following statement on Facebook:

“Be prepared for breaking news that will have an immediate, stunning, game-changing impact on Rhode Island politics. It will make national headlines. Lives will be changed profoundly – and mostly for the better. Yes, the news will upset us and challenge us. It will require us to tap deep resources of personal strength and to be outraged by the manner in which we have been governed for years. But we are strong. And we are patriots who will realize that it is not our system of government that is corrupt, but only those who have abused the system in support of their hideous personal agendas. We will survive this, and emerge stronger than ever. And through it all, I will be there for you.”

Gemma will present his findings next Wednesday at noon at his Providence headquarters.

Compassion centers could be open with six months

Rhode Islander’s long-awaited marijuana dispensaries may begin serving patients in as soon as six months. State regulators are currently finalizing regulations, which will govern the state’s three approved dispensaries, also known as compassion centers.

Although Gov. Lincoln Chafee officially signed state-licensed compassion centers into law in May, the state initially authorized the dispensaries in 2009. The three-year gap was primarily due to concerns that the original legislation might have invited some unwelcome federal involvement.

These concerns were rectified due to the recent efforts of Sen. Rhoda E. Perry and Rep. Scott A. Slater. The duo not only established a limit on marijuana quantities that dispensaries can grow, but also safeguarded against the illegal sale of any excess amounts of marijuana.

The three approved compassion centers are the Greenleaf Compassion Care Center in Portsmouth, the Thomas C. Slater Compassion Center in Providence, and the Summit Medical Compassion Center in Warwick.

Over 4,400 Rhode Islanders are currently enrolled in the state’s medical marijuana program

More Rhode Islanders are recycling

Recycling is up in RI, thanks to a new single-stream program. Specifically, recycling increased 7.5 percent in July compared to July 2011, according to the Rhode Island Resource Recovery Corp. In fact, the plant processed roughly 400 tons of recyclable material per day last month.

The sudden boost is the result of Resource Recovery’s attempt to simplify the recycling process. In the past, Rhode Islanders had to sort recyclables, but this is no longer the case. That duty now rests upon the mechanical shoulders of new machines inside the state’s recycling plant.

The RIRRC’s renovation project cost approximately $16.9 million and took six-months to complete. The new processing technology now allows for accurate sorting regardless of the item. The entire project was fully funded by the RIRRC.

Part of the inspiration behind the program was to increase the state’s recycling rate from the current 24 percent to at least 35 percent.

Female firefighter sues Providence Fire Department

Providence firefighter Lt. Lori Franchina has filed a lawsuit against the Providence Fire Department and firefighter’s union claiming that she was discriminated against because of her gender and sexual orientation. Franchina alleges that her safety has been jeopardized as a result of the bigotry and that she has developed PTSD due to the constant abuse.

According to Franchina, the mistreatment has occurred for a number of years, but has never resulted in any disciplinary action for the perpetrators. Despite being a lieutenant, Franchina claims that her subordinates continuously rejected her orders.

In one instance, Franchina alleges that several male firefighters refused to move a patient that had a viable pulse, who later passed away. Franchina also maintains that she suffers PTSD from a horrific 2009 incident in which a male subordinate “snapped” his rubber glove into her face, sending with it a victim’s blood and brain matter. The substances allegedly went into Franchina’s mouth, eyes, nostrils, and eyes.

Franchina claims that she was targeted because she is a women and a lesbian.

In 1997, the department was forced to pay over $275,000 to a female firefighter for sexual harassment complaints.

Fiscal Year 2012 Tax Credit Report

On Thursday, the Rhode Island Division of Taxation released its annual report summarizing the state’s tax credits for Fiscal Year 2012. According to the report, 39 businesses received more than $34.4 million in state tax incentives for the year.

The report illustrates that the majority of tax credits were relegated to several primary areas. Specifically, $16.4 million in credits were issued under the Jobs Development Act, $11.4 under the Motion Picture Production Tax Credits program, $5.9 million under the Economic Development Corporation’s Project program and $701,934 under the Distressed Areas Economic Revitalization Act.

Although 39 businesses received tax credits, the data shows that CVS Pharmacy was the main beneficiary. In fact, CVS received $4.8 million of the $5.9 million in credits issued under the Economic Development Corporation’s Project program and $15.4 million of the $16.4 million in credits issued under the Jobs Development Act. CVS has received a total of $180 million tax credits and incentives over the past five years, according to the Economic Progress Institute.

Compared to last year, the biggest tax incentive increase was experienced in the motion picture industry where tax credits swelled from $2.3 million to $11.4 million.

The state’s cumulative 2012 tax credits pale in comparison to Fiscal Year 2008 when over 300 businesses received a total of $178 million in tax credits and incentives.

Click HERE
to read the entire report conducted by the RI Division of Taxation.


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