RI State Report: Gov’t Shutdown, New Gubernatorial Hopeful + More
Saturday, October 05, 2013
8 Ways the Government Shutdown Will Impact RI
In light of this week's federal government shutdown, here are the eight main areas where Rhode Islanders will be hit:
A shut down would put a stop to the Small Business Administration’s ability to provide a critical source of small business credit until the government resumes operation. According to the SBA, Rhode Island is home to 23,537 small businesses. In Rhode Island during FY12, SBA approved $87.4 million loans to local small businesses.
The Department of Defense estimates that during a shutdown nearly half of the civilian workforce would be sent home without pay, while the rest would continue to work for delayed pay, impacting over 4,000 civilian workers in Rhode Island. Additionally, nearly 7,300 servicemembers in Rhode Island would remain on duty, but could see their pay delayed if the shutdown extends for more than 10 days.
Federal employees around the country, including Rhode Island, would potentially be furloughed in the event of a government shutdown.These workers may see reductions in their pay from the time they were forced to stay home because the government was shuttered.
Although checks for current Social Security benefits would still go out during a shutdown, applications for new benefits would be delayed and services for seniors could be significantly curtailed. The benefits of 200,000 Rhode Islanders on Social Security (retirees, the disabled, children, and widows) could be denied services because of the shutdown.
The 34,000 Rhode Islanders who depend on the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) could take a hit.
A government shutdown could force Head Start centers around the country to close. Last year, Head Start served about 2,450 children in Rhode Island.
The processing of new educational, pay, and pension benefits for the 90,000 Rhode Island veterans could be delayed. During the 1995-96 shutdowns, more than 400,000 veterans nationwide saw their disability benefits and pension claims delayed, while educational benefits were delayed for 170,000 veterans.
In a shutdown, the more than 950 Wildlife Refuges and National Park Service sites nationwide would close, including Roger Williams National Memorial in Providence and the Rhode Island Refuge Complex.
Giroux Announces His Gubernatorial Candidacy
GoLocal learned on Friday that Todd Giroux, who ran as an Independent candidate for Governor in 2010, will run as a Democrat in 2014. Giroux also ran as a Democrat for the U.S. Senate seat held by Sheldon Whitehouse in 2012.
Giroux, who officially became the first Democrat candidate to file this afternoon, told GoLocal that the current field of gubernatorial candidates’ lack of concern for the folks on Main Street is a primary reason for announcing his candidacy.
“They’re all talk,” Giroux told GoLocal. “The current gubernatorial candidates are all about ‘business as usual’ and aren’t concerned about the worries of the average Rhode Islander.”
“Rhode Island is primed for the people of Main Street to create a new era—their very own day—and I’m the only candidate to recognize this,” added Giroux.
“I’ve always been concerned about these issues,” Giroux told GoLocal. “Despite the circumstance of the average resident, no one has proposed a plan to help them. No candidate running for Governor has even offered a job plan to get Rhode Islanders back to work.”
"The state needs a new financial model, which includes incorporating market-based incentives that will help drive the economy," Giroux told GoLocal, stressing the importance of promoting manufacturing projects to get people back to work.
Additionally, Giroux said Rhode Island needs to create a more business-friendly environment to attract new businesses.
Giroux also argued that he’s tired of political leaders continuously “studying” employment and economic problems. “There is no study needed; the facts are in the past,” he told GoLocal.
Aside from employment, the issue of foreclosures also weighed heavily upon Giroux’s decision to run. “There are hardworking people out there that need to re-finance that aren’t getting the help they need," he told GoLocal. Specifically, Giroux would create low interest reserve pools, which would provide homeowners the means to begin re-financing.
According to Giroux, politicians are not adequately addressing the concerns of Rhode Island’s struggling homeowners, nor are they providing a voice for them. With this in mind, Giroux told GoLocal that he would "fill this gap and speak up on behalf of those who don’t currently have a political voice."
“We need leadership to implement policies that will better lives of people of Main Street,” added Giroux.
Giroux runs his own contracting business in Bristol where he lives. Giroux graduated from La Salle Academy in Providence and later from the University of Rhode Island with a psychology degree.
Block Calls Out RI GOP Leadership
Rhode Island gubernatorial candidate Ken Block, who is still contemplating whether to run as a Republican, issued some tough words to the state’s GOP leadership on Thursday.
Earlier this week, The Scoop reported that certain members of the state’s GOP had mixed feelings regarding Block—the founder of the state’s Moderate Party—switching party affiliations to run as a Republican in 2014.
In response, Block told GoLocal the following: “I am certainly considering public opinion in my decision making process. The opinion of the GOP leadership, who have confused the Rhode Island Republican party’s message and brought the party to such a low state in terms of effectiveness in Rhode Island politics, is not important to me.”
GoLocal reached out to RI GOP Communications Director Michael Napolitano to get the GOP’s take, but he had no comment.
Block, a Barrington businessman, founded the Moderate Party of Rhode Island in 2009, and ran as the Moderate Party’s gubernatorial candidate in 2010.
Block, who declared his candidacy in May, is currently the only official candidate in the state’s gubernatorial race. Other expected candidates include Cranston Mayor Allan Fung, who launched an exploratory committee for Governor in September, General Treasurer Gina Raimondo, and Providence Mayor Angel Taveras.
Sionni Levies Corruption Charge Against Taveras
Providence City Council candidate Anthony Sionni is incensed over what he believes to be corruption in Providence, and he isn’t afraid to name names.
“As far as I am concerned many (but not all) City Council members walk around with a "For Sale" sign on their backs,” Sionni told GoLocal on Wednesday in regard to news that Providence Mayor Angel Taveras has nominated David Igliozzi to the Providence Housing Court to replace Jorge Elorza, who is running for mayor of Providence.
“I am upset with the politics-as-usual, vote buying that goes on at City Hall every day and I am going to call them out on it. Councilman John Igliozzi made it clear that he did not support the property tax increase included in the Mayor’s budget but then did an about face and voted in favor of it. Shortly after that rumors began to surface that he sold his vote to the Mayor to get a job for his brother in the City Solicitor's office. A few days after the budget passed and David Igliozzi was hired by the city. Then more rumors began to surface that the deal included making David Igliozzi a housing court judge. That has also come to pass and I am calling on the City Council to vote this nomination down.”
“This is a corrupt deal and I am going to shine the brightest light I can on it,” added Sionni. “The taxpayers are being bled dry so Mayor Taveras can look like the hero that saved Providence and the Igliozzi family gets another paycheck and more influence to trade. It has to stop.”
In order to prevent Igliozzi’s appointment, Sionni is calling on Providence residents to contact their city council members to voice their displeasure. In fact, Sionni has listed the names and email addresses for each Providence City Council member on his Facebook page.
David Igliozzi, is a former state senator who ran an unsuccessful campaign for Providence mayor in 2002. John Igliozzi, his brother, is a long-time member of the City Council, representing Silver Lake since 1997.
RI Tea Party Warns About Dangers of Obamacare
In light of the Affordable Care Act open enrollment beginning this week, Rhode Island Tea Party President Susan Wynne came out strong earlier this week against what she believes is a program that will have a negative impact both nationally and locally.
“It is our belief that Obamacare is essentially a government takeover of the healthcare industry,” Wynne told GoLocal. “Its profoundly negative implications for every person are huge, encompassing not only healthcare, but also privacy concerns, lifestyle choices, and business decisions. Already we have seen hundreds of organizations, local government entities, and business forced to downsize dramatically with layoffs and reduced employee hours-as a result of the law’s added regulations and costs. Almost daily, we hear of yet another union, or politically-connected non-profit being granted a waiver from its requirements. Except for a courageous few, most members of congress, not to mention the president himself, enthusiastically welcome exemption from its demands.”
As for how to improve the Affordable Care Act, Wynne suggests that significant changes need to be made.
“The ACA should either be substantially amended to include the free-market and smart regulatory aspects proposed by fiscally responsible voices throughout the bill’s existence till now, or far better, repealed, so new legislation can be drafted that actually works for US,” Wynne told GoLocal.
- RI State Report: 2014 Budget Highlights
- RI State Report: Big Money For Rhode Island’s Hospitals + Coast
- RI State Report: Chafee Out + Budget Surpluses
- RI State Report: EDC Overhaul + Twin River Table Games
- RI State Report: Education Bills + Chafee Switches Parties
- RI State Report: Fox Investigated, Gag Orders + More
- RI State Report: Fung’s Governor Moves + 38 Studios Hearings
- RI State Report: Gay Marriage + RI Launches Feel-Good Campaign
- RI State Report: Gay Marriage, Stress + Tax-Free Liquor Days
- RI State Report: Grants For Vets + Bishop Tobin Switches Parties
- RI State Report: Guns, Early Bird Liquor + Chafee’s Image Problem
- RI State Report: Help For Voters + RI Small Businesses
- RI State Report: Made in RI + Tax Incentives to Live Healthier
- RI State Report: Marathon Bombings, Job Numbers + Sakonnet Tolls
- RI State Report: Marriage Equality + Tax Hikes On The Rich
- RI State Report: Medicaid Fraud, Kidnapping + Seat Belt Laws
- RI State Report: Minimum Wage, Woonsocket + Cutting School Days
- RI State Report: More Tolls, Bryant Pays + Casino Theft
- RI State Report: Pro-Life Plates + 10-Cent Sakonnet Toll
- RI State Report: Rhode Island Gets Big Money For Housing + Medicare
- RI State Report: Sexual Discrimination, State Worker Theft + More
- RI State Report: Strip Clubs, Guns + Drugs
- RI State Report: Twin River, CPR Certification + Drunk-Driving Loophole
- RI State Report: Veto, Veto, Veto
- RI State Report: Workforce Grants + Relief for Homeowners