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RI GOP Claims Mattiello, Montanaro Jr. are Misleading Taxpayers

Saturday, August 05, 2017


Nicholas Mattiello

The Rhode Island Republican Party is claiming that Frank Montanaro Jr. and House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello have been misleading RI’s taxpayers.

The GOP claims focus on "a scam" involving Montanaro and $50,000 of free tuition and the related cover-up.

“When will the deceit, and the deflection coming from Montanaro and Mattiello about this scandal end?  Montanaro pressured RIC into giving him a special treatment and he has lied about it. Montanaro should pay back the entire amount of free tuition he received NOW! Matteillo should have already terminated Montanaro, who has been investigated by the state police,” said RI Republican Party Chairman Brandon Bell.

He continued, “Mattiello says he listens to his constituents. Well, he will be hearing from them soon enough about Montanaro. The RI Republican Party will be informing the voters of Mattiello’s district in the near future about Montanaro’s scam and how Mattiello has misled the voters about it and is allowing Montanaro to get away with it,”

The RI Republican Party is claiming the following:

FIRST FALSEHOOD - Montanaro claimed that the free tuition he received while on leave from RIC was given to him “just like anyone else.” Mattiello stated Montanaro did not get “special permission” to receive free tuition while on leave (6/7/17, 6/19/17)

TRUTH – RIC did not follow standard procedure in agreeing to give Montanaro free tuition benefits while on leave.  RIC gave Montanaro special administrative authorization to receive free tuition benefit.  Montanaro filed false documents with URI indicating that he was not on leave (6/20/17, 7/26/17, 8/3/17)

SECOND FALSEHOOD- Montanaro claimed there “wasn’t a disagreement” between him and RIC about him receiving free tuition benefits while on leave (6/7/17) 

TRUTH - RIC disputed whether Montanaro should receive free tuition benefits during his three-year leave but RIC agreed to it after they were threatened with a union grievance (8/3/17)

THIRD FALSEHOOD - Montanaro indicated that he would “return the monetary equivalent of the tuition benefit.” Mattiello said Montanaro was “agreeing to pay the money back” (6/21/17)

TRUTH - Montanaro is only paying back $41,000 of the $50,000 free tuition he received and is doing so over 10 years interest-free (8/3/17)


Related Slideshow: FY18 House Finance Budget

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The state's community college is poised to be the sole beneficiary of the Governor's Promise scholarship program.

It would make Rhode Island the fourth state to have tuition-free community college, allowing every resident the opportunity to earn an associate's degree tuition free. There is no means testing for the program and few standards.

The cost would be roughly $3 million in the FY18 (for the first cohort of students) and then $6 million the following year there are two classes. 

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State Government 

As part of negotiations -- and the fiscal realities facing Rhode Island with a nearly $140 million shortfally, the Speaker announced Thursday that $25 million will be cut in general spending.

"It's something we discussed with the Governor and she thinks she can make [it] work," said Matteillo. 

Also on the chopping block -- funding for the legislative office to the tune of $2 million. 

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Elderly and Disabled Bus Riders 

After levying fares on some of the most needy RIPTA bus riders (the elderly and disabled) for the first time this past year, which resulted in strong public outcry, the House Finance budget contains just over $3 million  -- for each of the next two years -- to refund the program this coming year. 

WATCH: Opponents of RIPTA Fare Hikes to Rally at RI State House Wednesday Afternoon

Mattiello noted that after the two years is up, it is up to the Governor to find the funding. 

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Governor Raimondo

On Thursday, Raimondo learned she is poised to get a piece (jCCRI) of her free college tuition proposal, which had been a major focal point of her budget proposal - and political strategy. 

On the flip side, she is tasked with finding $25 million in government spending to cut, in order to balance the budget. 

Unlike the May estimating conference, where Rhode Island revenues were found to be off nearly $100 million plus, the Governor can't say she didn't see this  coming.

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Medical Marijuana Expansion

In June, Raimondo called for an increase in medical marijuana dispensaries and an increase in licensing fees to generate $1.5 million in revenue for the state. 

She called for "no less than six licensed compassion centers."

On Thursday, Mattiello said it was not in the budget, due the proposal's late timing.

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Davies High School

The House finance budget contains additional help for manufacturing, including $3.6 million to upgrade facilities at Davies Career and Tech.

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Commerce Corporation

While Mattiello made scant mention of cuts in the briefing Thursday - save for the $25 million out of government spending -- the question was raised as to where the rest of the $140 million shortfall will come from. 

"Millions in cuts came from the Commerce Corp budget. The budget kept the Rebuild RI funding, but money for several other Commerce programs were reduced," said Larry Berman, spokesman for Mattiello. 

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Mininum Wage Hike

Workers will be happy, employers might not. 

The FY18 budget proposal calls for a $.50 minimum wage increase as of January 1, 2018, and then an additional $.40 the following year.

Business owners have continuously fought against such hikes. 


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