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Travis Rowley’s Quick Hits

Saturday, June 09, 2012


The State Budget: While Rhode Island taxpayers are doing their best to manage their way through tight times, the General Assembly still can’t seem to control its own spending levels. House Democrats drafted and passed an $8.1 billion budget – millions upon millions of dollars more than last year’s spending plan. And they raised taxes to help pay for it – again. Absent of any significant structural change to the manner in which the state runs itself, House Minority Leader Brian Newberry (R) criticized the budget for maintaining the “status quo,” and that it “ ‘does nothing’ to solve the state's problems attracting businesses and improving its economy.” Every House Republican voted against the ballooning budget, assisting Republican activists as they try to convince the voters that the RIGOP really does offer an alternative way forward.

Tax the Rich (Any Way Possible): The Democrats’ budget includes a new tax on all clothing that costs more than $250. While the attempt to assault the “rich” with an income tax hike seems to have been averted, Democrats openly approved this back-door pick-pocketing that is sadly reminiscent of the Luxury Tax from 1990 – a tax that DC Democrats agreed to repeal when “tens of thousands of jobs were lost, and untold thousands more related livelihoods were negatively affected.” As then-President George H.W. Bush explained in 1992, “When they aim at the big guy, they usually hit the little guy.” So, of course, twenty years later Rhode Island Democrats are finding it wise to repeat the mistake with their own ill-advised scheme to rip more money out of the private sector.

Tax Nobody: Meanwhile, the RI Center for Freedom and Prosperity – a local conservative think-tank – issued a report that laid out the positive economic impact of eliminating the state sales tax altogether. According to the Center, a four-year phase-out of the retail sales tax would result in the “creation of over 21,000 new jobs; an increase in the state GDP; a windfall for cities and towns; and a net inflow of shoppers and residents to Rhode Island.” The Center reports that the “tax cut largely pays for itself,” requiring only $68 million in first-year spending reductions. As the Center explains, “For less than the same $75 million that was wasted at 38 Studios chasing 400 jobs, first-year budget cuts of $68 million to pay for the phase-out of the sales tax over four years will result in over 5,000 new jobs.” 2012 Republican candidates should run on this proposal.

Jack Savage: The timing couldn’t have been better. Seemingly simultaneous with my column last week that instructed conservatives and libertarians to continue to flood the ranks of the GOP in order to “drown out” all remaining liberalism within the party, Representative Jack Savage – who just voted in favor of the Democrats’ tax-hiking budget, introduced an amendment that “would increase taxes on those earning more than $55,000” a year, and is well-known for supporting union-backed initiatives – became an independent as he disaffiliated with the Republican Party. “I was just no longer being comfortable as a Republican,” Savage remarked. “I feel that the Republican Party, willingly or unwillingly, has been captured by the extreme right. They’re not reflective of my views and I thought it would be best that we parted.” This is how you pull the nation’s entire political paradigm to the right – from within the existing party structure, pressuring leftists to voluntarily exit powerful institutions such as the GOP.

Claudine Schneider: Speaking of Republicans on their way out, former Congresswoman Claudine Schneider came back to Rhode Island also complaining that “the conservatives have co-opted the primaries,” and that there is “obviously not” room for “centrists like herself” (read: liberals). “Moderates have been pushed out in every primary,” Schneider explained as she let it be known that she’s “disappointed and sad that the Republican women have chosen to form the [conservative] Women’s Policy Committee.” According to Schneider, it’s simply not possible for the 24 Republican congresswomen to reject big-government policies, and still be fighting for the “best interest of women and men” or for the “good of the whole” – as Schneider describes a congresswoman’s responsibility. And, typical of liberals, Schneider explains away these unlikely conservatives – this time, by claiming that conservative women simply must be “afraid of losing in the primaries.” There’s no possible way they actually believe that advancing individual liberty is for the “good of the whole.”

Romney-Paul Ticket?: Rand Paul’s meeting this week with Mitt Romney had people speculating over Paul becoming Romney’s 2012 running mate. By no means should this be seen as a sellout of libertarian principles on Paul’s part. On the contrary, it is evidence that Romney feels obligated to cater to, listen to, learn from, and make promises toward an ever-expanding base of hard-line conservatives. A Paul vice-presidency would not be something for libertarians to lament, but to celebrate, as the Tea Party will have uplifted one of its own to one of the highest offices in the land.

Wisconsin Republicans: A major victory for liberty and the middle-class was achieved this week in Wisconsin when the voters overwhelmingly supported Governor Scott Walker and his stand against government unions. Now, which local legislators have the guts to sponsor identical legislation here in the Ocean State, legislation that would rescind the government unions’ ability to force workers to pay union dues, and force the taxpayers to negotiate with them – legislation that would finally strip public unions of their undue power over the citizens of Rhode Island?

Socialism Confirmed: Despite the denials from President Obama’s 2008 campaign team – and the media’s attempt to ignore it – Stanley Kurtz  has “obtained evidence from the updated records of Illinois ACORN at the Wisconsin Historical Society [that] now definitively establishes that Obama was a member of the New Party,” an outright socialist outfit. Records from a New Party meeting in 1996 indicate that Obama “signed the New Party ‘Candidate Contract’ and requested an endorsement from the New Party. He also joined the New Party.” Not that many of us needed any more verification, but Kurtz’s discovery more importantly serves as evidence of the media’s dereliction of duty, and their complicity in the Democratic Party’s primary deception – that the word “progressive” means something other than “socialist.”

Netroots Providence: For anyone interested in witnessing the “progressive” base of the modern Democratic Party, just pay close attention to this week’s annual Netroots Nation conference being held in Downtown Providence. These are the savvy and hard-core progressive activists that largely control the Democratic direction. Not only is the self-described communist Van Jones featured on the homepage of Netroots’ website but he will once again be honored as a featured speaker and panelist. The communist activist will be joined by prominent Rhode Island Democrats, including Sheldon Whitehouse and David Cicilline. Awesome.

Travis Rowley (TravisRowley.com) is the chairman of the RI Young Republicans and author of The RI Republican: An Indictment of the Rhode Island Left.


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