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PowerPlayer: State Rep. Teresa Tanzi

Monday, July 09, 2012

 

This week’s PowerPlayer is Democratic State Representative Teresa Tanzi. Rep. Tanzi was kind enough to chat with GoLocalProv about the legislative process, her work reforming the tax credit system and her goals for the future.

1. You just completed your first term as a State Rep. Tell us three things we don't know about the legislative process.

  • Every bill that is submitted gets a hearing, which does not happen in every state. But there are some states where every bill also gets a vote.
     
  • Very few citizens speak in hearings at the Statehouse. It is a shame because they are the individuals and the small business owners who are really impacted by the changes we enact. I know how hard it is to navigate the system and find the time to do so between work and family, but it is a part of the process we need to work on changing. I am always so appreciative of those who testify because they want to share their thoughts, not because they are paid to do so. Those are the people we need to hear from more often.
     
  • Most Reps, including me, don’t have offices, our own staff or even a desk! In fact it was not until this year that we even had WiFi in the building. People are always surprised when I answer my own phone and find out it is my personal cell.

 

2. Long before the 38 Studios situation, you were asking questions about tax credits. Is our tax credit system actually creating jobs?

That is the multi-million dollar question that the state has not been able to provide answers on for taxpayers. It is truly hard to say how many jobs companies have actually created, how much those jobs pay, how long those particular jobs last and whether or not the cost is worth the benefit at this point since we do not have much meaningful analysis being done. Other states are making significant progress on this through review commissions and sunset provisions, and Rhode Island needs to join them or be left behind again.

The main question that needs to be answered is, are each of these tax preferences creating the right incentives to foster the type of economic growth we are aiming for? Of course we also need to decide what our goals are. Is this a hail mary pass, or a detailed plan to create a new sector? We can only guarantee and improve the effectiveness of spending through our tax code when proper analysis is done.

When we see where these tax preferences are generating success, we can recreate similar programs elsewhere; but if things aren’t working, we need to change the game plan. Every business does it, so should government. As my friend Kate Brewster of the Economic Progress Institute says, companies that are accepting these tax breaks should have to “prove it or lose it.” It really is that simple. We ask recipients of other forms of government subsidies or tax breaks to prove their eligibility and ongoing compliance, and corporations should do the same.

3. Take us through a day in your life.

No two days are alike- ever. Especially with a six year old and summer vacation! I wake up, try to get a workout in, read some blogs and newspapers. I take care of the chickens and our vegetable garden. I attend a lot of meetings and spend a lot of time talking with people on the phone, I much prefer a conversation to an email. All of the nuance of difficult policy questions is lost in an email exchange. I give out my cell phone number to whoever wants it, and I almost always answer it when it rings.

4. If you're re-elected, tell us about your top priority for 2013.

Tax expenditures, no two ways about it. Like I said before, we cannot continue to budget effectively until we look at both sides of the ledger and make decisions based on comprehensive, systematic analysis. I have had many great conversations with both Speaker Fox and Finance Committee Chairman Melo about how to structure meaningful change and how other states are doing it. I know they are listening, and I am hopeful we can find a way to make it happen next session.

5. Tell us something nobody knows about you.

I love vintage motorcycles! I always have. I ride a 1973 BMW R75/5 with drum brakes and an air cooled engine- and I rode before my husband did. Everyone assumes he was the one who started riding, but when I met him I was standing next to my 1971 Honda CB350; he claims he fell in love with me right then and there.

Quick Hitters

Role Model: It is a mix of so many people, but the one who laid the foundation was my mother. She always encouraged me to find another avenue, keep pushing, keep moving . I could hear her voice in my head as a child telling me, “Don’t be a follower, be a leader!”

Favorite Restaurant: Matunuck Oyster Bar

Best Beach: Narragansett Town Beach

Best Book You've Read in the Last Year: Rereading the Phantom Tollbooth with our daughter, seeing it through her eyes has made it all the better!

Advice for the Next Teresa Tanzi: Don’t let doubt ever enter into the equation, trust that you know what you want, and act as if failure is not an option. You will always amaze yourself!

 

Dan McGowan can be reached at [email protected].

 

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Comments:

I see nothing here that makes Theresa Tanzi a PowerPlayer. On the basis of this article, she is the a typical "Freshman Legislator" on Smith Hill hoping to get reelected.

You didn't cover her role in the "Liberal Fest" recently held here in Providence in which she was a key speaker. You didn't touch on her ultra liberal voting record or her "horse trading" tactics on the house floor as pointed out by Rep. Doreen Costa.

Fact is that Theresa Tanzi has a strong challenge coming from the winner of the Republican Primary in her district, regardless which of them win.

Comment #1 by Mark Smiley on 2012 07 09

Netroots Nation had their convention in Providence. They are a group of American Progressive political activists. Teresa Tanzi not only had a front row seat but also spoke at the event. The keynote speaker was Van Jones. Yes, that Van Jones! The one who was forced to resign from the Obama Administration after facts were brought out about his past and his push for communism. This tells you a great deal about this power player! She has also been bought and paid or by the public sector unions. The citizens of Narragansett and South Kingstown won’t be fooled this November. She is one and done!

Comment #2 by Scott Dickerson on 2012 07 09

I suppose the reason that they are calling Tanzi a power player is because she was one of the few people speaking out against the 38 Studios deal before it was approved by the EDC. In fact, in last week's Newsmaker interview with Speaker Fox, she was mentioned by the Speaker as someone who continues to push for the type of oversight and reform that we need on this issue in the state of Rhode Island. She has been a leader on oversight of these programs since well before she ran for office.
She is far from an average freshman, she is an articulate leader who understands state policy on a deeper level than either of her opponents. And please, let's be adults here and leave the communist label where it belongs already, back in the McCarthy era, and end the ridiculous witch hunt you are trying to foment.

Comment #3 by Jonathan List on 2012 07 09

Johnathan you forgot to add your tag "paid for by Friends of Tanzi" to your statement. For those that doubt, do a web search for Van Jones and just start reading about his very radical past. It is all in print for those to see. Also go and read her campaign finance reports and look at who donated to her campaign. This is not an individual interested in reform. She is a radical progressive who believes in the same policies that have brought this state to its knees. Are you kidding me!

Comment #4 by Scott Dickerson on 2012 07 09

Not to many fans in her district after she stuck her foot in her mouth regarding Michael Woodmansee and then attempted to sweep it under the rug by stealing legislation from REPUBLICANS that she took for her own in an attempt to rebound. DISHONEST! What RI doesn't need in our legislature.

Comment #5 by guy smily on 2012 07 09

Tetzner will soon have to reveal his campaign finance disclosure and that'll show who "owns" him. The word around the campfire is that the banks will show up as the lionshare of purchase power for a Rep Elect Tetzner. These same mortgage bankers share the dubious distinction of taking down the world's economy. How, do you ask, did Tetzner score such a windfall of campaign cash? Apparently, he heads up the Mortgage Bankers Association in RI--lovely. Let's hope we don't end up with another .38 Special to the temple of this state's economy.

Comment #6 by Chris L on 2012 07 10

the tanzi comment regarding woodmansee will not be forgotten .
the people need to get away from her communstic, progressive at any cost
agenda .a great aclu ally.

Comment #7 by vinny coia on 2012 07 10

Chris Laccinole's comments are spot on. Tetzner is a lobbyist... yet he has done nothing illegal... just another one of "them." Teresa is bought and paid for by the SPECIAL INTERESTS: Planned Parenthood, NEA, NOW--all the left of center folks who are her pals. She, along with Larry Valencia, Donna Walsh submitted the "poison pills" which would have helped water down Gina Raimondo's pension reforms. Teresa is a Van Jones loving, far left nut. She never went to Brown as her bio states, never graduated from any college, and is a total fraud. Yet her pals in Peacedale and Wakefield love her laid-back smile and don't realize she will place the final nail into the coffin which is the State of Rhode Island. She hates BUSINESS... everything she does is anti-business, anti-job... I wish people would wake up, but living in Wakefield, I fear they are in a weed-induced coma.

Comment #8 by rACHEL wILLIAMS on 2012 07 14

Chris L's comments are spot on. Tetzner is a lobbyist... yet he has done nothing illegal... just another one of "them." Teresa is bought and paid for by the SPECIAL INTERESTS: Planned Parenthood, NEA, NOW--all the left of center folks who are her pals. She, along with Larry Valencia, Donna Walsh submitted the "poison pills" which would have helped water down Gina Raimondo's pension reforms. Teresa is a Van Jones loving, far left nut. She never went to Brown as her bio states, never graduated from any college, and is a total fraud. Yet her pals in Peacedale and Wakefield love her laid-back smile and don't realize she will place the final nail into the coffin which is the State of Rhode Island. She hates BUSINESS... everything she does is anti-business, anti-job... I wish people would wake up, but living in Wakefield, I fear they are in a weed-induced coma.

Comment #9 by rACHEL wILLIAMS on 2012 07 14

I think "Jonathan List" is actually Jonathan Daly-LaBelle, a pal of Terrrie's from Wakefield. Terrie is an Obama delegate at the Democrat convention... she loves the camera... maybe she can buddy up with Princess Liar from Massachusetts and they can talk about Cherokee recipes for Terrie's new "green" cookbook...lol lol lol... when is the Compassion Center opening in Wakefield, Terrie?

Comment #10 by rACHEL wILLIAMS on 2012 07 14

And that picture of her is really scary... creepy. What is this woman on?

Comment #11 by rACHEL wILLIAMS on 2012 07 14

Stephen Tetzner is most likely a plant to go after Teresa Tanzi for supporting not only pension reform but amendments that would have required state judges and the state police to participate in these same reforms. Stephen Tetzner gives large amounts of money to high ranking democrats who are campaigning against republicans, even this year 2012 he has donated to the speaker of the house Fox and senate president Paiva-Weed for their re-election campaigns. He calls himself the fighter against the good old boy network? What a Joke.
As an aside, rachel "meg" williams why are you such a hateful person? you must be very unhappy. maybe you were denied a pony as a little girl?

Comment #12 by Ben Deegan on 2012 08 18




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