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NEW: Block: Fung Flip-Flops on Corporate Tax Cut

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

 

Ken Block

Republican gubernatorial candidate Cranston Mayor Allan Fung has been called out by opponent Ken Block -- as well as former Republican legislator John Loughlin -- for proposing a cut to the state's corporate tax this week, when in 2009 Fung opposed then-Governor Carcieri's budget proposal which contained similar tax cuts.

"While we applaud Mr. Fung joining Mr. Block on this important issue, Mr. Fung's history of raising taxes in Cranston and negative comments about Governor Carcieri's 2009 tax proposal - which Mr. Fung seems to have copied directly - are very troubling. And should raise concerns for any real responsible fiscal voter," said Block campaign spokesperson Jeff Britt.

Fung Response

"The Mayor was opposed to Governor’s Carcieri’s budget, not the corporate tax reduction, due to the devastating and drastic cuts to the local cities and towns where the financial burden would be borne by the local taxpayers," said Fung campaign manager Pat Sweeney. "The Mayor’s tax reduction plan, on the other hand, comes responsibly through state spending cuts and cost shifting, not putting the burden on the backs of people who can least afford it."

Former Rep Loughlin Weighs In

Former State Representative and Congressional candidate John Loughlin, who served from 2005 to 2010 in the General Assembly, said that Fung's turn was "ironic" and "disheartening."

"In the General Assembly, in the Republican caucus, we were always looking for a good budget from Governor Carcieri to turn the state around, then wait for [former Finance Chair Steven] Costantino to take the bite and vigor out of it," said Loughlin. 

"We expected Costantino to be against it, but for the Republican Mayor to be against it, well, it's more ironic to see this now," said Loughlin. "It's hard enough to get support for a bold agenda. It would have been helpful if at the time of Carcieri's budget [Fung] had said, "This is a bold and exciting proposal, let's figure out a way to make this work."

 

Related Slideshow: 10 Questions Fung Has to Answer When Running for Gov of RI

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10) Can Fung raise the money necessary to be competitive?

At the last reporting period, Cranston Mayor Allan Fung's campaign had only $336,000.

 

Ken Block had $540,000 and he just entered the race.  

 

Democrat Gina Raimondo has over $2.3 million and even Angel Taveras has $759,000 cash on hand.

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9) Is Fung ready for prime time?

Fung is well-liked in Cranston and most everyone thinks Fung is a "nice guy."

 

Gina Raimondo and Angel Taveras can claim they took on tough issues.

 

Ken Block articulates big ideas and a proven record in business, but out of the gate Fung's campaign seems less than ready.

 

Fung's campaign manager got confused about how many Democrats Fung has  donated to and his motivation for donating to them. 

 

Would another four years in Cranston be the wiser path?

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8) Can Fung effectively run against Angel Taveras?

Fung claims Providence Mayor Angel Taveras as a close friend, but it raises questions about inherent personal conflicts and ability to run and effective race.

 

Politics in Rhode Island is often a blood sport, will Fung approve that knockout punch TV spot in the closing weeks that tags Taveras for the spiraling crime problem in Providence?

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7) Is Fung's base big enough?

For Mayor Fung, his base is Cranston, but he does not enjoy a groundswell of Hispanic voters like Providence Mayor Angel Taveras hopes to bank on (7% of the voters were Hispanic in the General Election in 2012, according to Pew Research).

 

A race against Raimondo would be tough as she would very likely have a strong block of female voters.

 

Where does Fung get his votes?

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6) Can Fung defend the tax increases in Cranston?

When Fung runs as a Republican against a Democrat, there is an advantage if Fung can point out a differentiation of fiscal discipline. Fung, as Mayor, had numerous and significant residential and commercial tax increases.

 

This will not help him against the fiscally prudent Ken Block, but even if he were to win the primary then he would lose the advantage against Angel Taveras in a General Election. Both have ushered large tax increases through their councils.

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5) Why pledge to create "20,000 jobs"? It sounds like Don Carcieri.

Don't know if Fung was paying attention, but GOP Governor Don Carcieri ran on...creating 20,000 new jobs. 

 

When Carcieri left office, Rhode Island had the worst unemployment in America. Not sure Fung wants to mirror that Carcieri pledge.

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4) Defending Don Carcieri and making him a part of the campaign - is that a good idea?

The collapse of 38 Studios has scarred Don Carcieri's legacy as Governor of Rhode Island. At best, Carcieri was star struck to give a baseball player $75 million -- at worse, Carcieri was part of something far more ominous.

 

For Fung, who wants to run as the future of Rhode Island, why be associated with Don Carcieri?

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3) Defending the lobbyist role?

In 2014, do we think Rhode Islanders will be looking for a former lobbyist for a large corporation that is cutting Rhode Islander's jobs to be our next Governor?

 

Lobbyist-turned-Governor will be tougher to pull off than actor Ronald Reagan-turned-Governor of California in the 1960's.

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2) Understand the changing position on gay marriage?

Hard to know what Allan Fung's position is on gay marriage. At different times he offered a range of views.

 

Some GOP primary voters have been opposed to the RI law and others were supportive, but neither segment of the GOP may understand what his position was -- or is.  

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1) Political donations to local, federal and national Democrats - are you sure you are a Republican?

Fung has given to David Cicilline, US Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, former RI Senate President Bill Irons and once RI Attorney General Patrick Lynch. Fung's campaign manager claims he was a lobbyist and needed to donate to Democratic leaders.  Cicilline, Reid and Lynch meet none of those criteria.  

 

Not only did Fung give thousands of his own dollars to Dems, he turned down requests from leading GOP candidates like John Robitalle and Jon Loughlin who were badly outspent and needed every dollar to win.

 

The Republican party in Rhode Island is a pretty small group trying to create a pretty big tent - from Scott Avedisian to Doreen Costa. For most Republicans in this state it is tough -- you don't enjoy the political connections and you're part of a tiny minority -- so loyalty matters.

 
 

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