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Travis Rowley: Rhode Islanders, Pay Your Own Damn Taxes

Saturday, March 10, 2012


Local property taxes in Rhode Island are among the highest in the nation. And it has little to do with what progressive Democrats claim. That is, that recent tax cuts for the state’s high-income earners are the cause of your skyrocketing property tax bill – that “the rich” are not paying their “fair share.”

Here’s what Democratic politicians don’t want you to realize: High property taxes are due to the fact that your town spends a lot of money – mostly on its unionized government employees and their depleted pension funds. And union-Democrats, from atop Smith Hill, are the ones forcing your town to undergo those expenses.

If you were confused whenever former Republican Governor Don Carcieri asked General Assembly Democrats to give cities and towns the “flexibility” and the “tools” they need to balance their budgets, well, this is what Carcieri was talking about: The abolition of unfunded mandates forced upon your local governments.

You see, Democrats can’t run from this one simple reality: Government spending is what necessitates the need for taxes. And high government spending is what necessitates the need for high taxes – no matter who is forced to pay them.

And, in fact, if nothing else, Rhode Island has served to prove that no matter whose heads high taxes fall upon, the poor and middle class will always be the ones who suffer the most.

Tax the Rich

While organized progressive Democrats lobby the General Assembly to raise the income tax rate for people earning over $250,000 per year (from 5.99% to 9.99%), perhaps it’s time to inspect and question the logistical and moral foundation of such a policy.

Progressives insist that allowing a rich man, who lives several towns over from you, to keep his own money is what causes increases to your property tax bill. And this somehow amounts to a “transfer of wealth from the poor to the rich.”

Even if we accept the progressive premise that tax cuts have resulted in local property tax hikes, the fact of the matter is that your bill was always that high. It’s just that someone else was always paying a portion of your bill. Someone else was always paying for your town’s amenities in order to suppress your property taxes.

Ask yourself this: Do you now feel entitled to other people’s money?

If so, perhaps it’s true that the entitlement mentality is not confined within the welfare state. And perhaps Jon Meacham of Newsweek Magazine was right: “We Are All Socialists Now.”

But now ask yourself this: Why should someone else be forced to pay your property taxes? By what moral principle do you justify having your local tax bill socialized?

If you listen closely, Democrats tell us all the time how they justify a progressive income tax. As Democratic Mayor of Pawtucket Don Grebien recently stated, “We can’t keep strangling lower and middle-income Rhode Islanders with more and more property taxes while we continue to give tax breaks to those who need them the least.” Or, one might say, “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.”

These are the people who insist they’re not socialists.

But, of course, they are. Most of them will deny it. And, quite frankly, many of them don’t even know it. But the fact remains that most Democrats have largely embraced the socialist philosophy.

Democrats will ridicule the idea that they advance the socialist agenda, even as we divulge the fact that Karl Marx himself advocated for a progressive income tax within his Communist Manifesto; and even as we witness members of the International Socialist Organization show up to almost every major union rally, holding signs that read, “Tax the Rich.” Invariably, alongside them are union and Democratic activists holding signs that read – yup, you guessed it – “Tax the Rich.”

The Progressive Plan

Proponents of this tax hike have tried to alleviate concerns by agreeing to have “the tax rate…go down one percent for each one percent reduction in the state's unemployment rate, until the rate returns to 5.99 percent.”

Not only is this formula completely arbitrary (and stupid), the fact remains that raising taxes on people making over $250,000 per year is the very action that will prevent the unemployment rate from dropping.

Are we witnessing economic ignorance, or adherence to communist instruction?

Within the Communist Manifesto Marx suggested that in order to hasten the socialist revolution, it would be necessary to initiate “despotic inroads on the rights of property, and on the conditions of bourgeois production,” which includes “a heavy progressive or graduated income tax.”

At first, Marx explained, these measures will “appear economically insufficient and untenable, but which, in the course of the movement, outstrip themselves, necessitate further inroads upon the old social order, and are unavoidable as a means of entirely revolutionizing the mode of production.”

The Marxist design has always been to purposely devastate the private business sector, creating economic conditions that are so desperate that they would persuade enough people to approve of further assaults on the rich.

Knowingly or not, Rhode Island Democrats have thoroughly followed Marx’s instruction. If enough free-market Republicans are not soon elected, then our hopes will be forced to rest upon the sudden reform and enlightenment of Ocean State Democrats.

God help us.

Travis Rowley (TravisRowley.com) is chairman of the RI Young Republicans and a consultant for the Barry Hinckley Campaign for US Senate.

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