Rep. Lancia Says Legislature is “Stealing” 911 Funds, Voting Records Show He Voted To Divert Funds
Friday, June 15, 2018
Lancia, who is considering running for RI Lt. Governor said, “Either use the money to run and improve our 911 services or stop collecting it. Renaming the fee so you can put it in the General Fund is not honesty, it’s deceitful.”
But, a GoLocal review found that Lancia voted to divert the money in 2015 when he joined with fellow Republican in supporting Speaker of the House Nick Mattiello’s budget.
In a phone interview, Lancia said that legislators who voted for the diversion of funds were not telling the truth to Rhode Islanders. When reminded that he too voted to move them 911 fee for other non-emergency response uses Lancia said, “Well I didn’t know then. That was not a signature issue for me then and it is now.”
“I was unaware that it was going on,” Lancia added.
Lancia in a press release claims that this has been a longtime advocate for protecting 911 funds and stated, “This is just another bait and switch. With a mammoth $9.6 billion budget our state leaders are still insisting on pilfering the 911 fees. I cannot believe that we are still having this ridiculous debate about 911 funding just a few weeks after our entire state lost 911 coverage. Changing the name does not change the fact that money is supposed to fund our 911 system. It is time for us to stop dumping this money into the general fund and create a restricted receipt account.”
The chronic diversion of funds has caused staffing issues and delays in implementing new technologies including the ability to text 911. This is an invaluable tool for individuals in situations that are too dangerous for them to speak including domestic violence or mass shooting events. The state has allocated an additional $1 million dollars this year to hire additional personnel but there is no guarantee for next year.
Lancia announced on GoLocal LIVE that he was exploring a run for Lt. Governor on June 6th.
“As Lt. Governor, one of my top priorities will be to create the office of Inspector General to help root out waste, fraud, and abuse in state government. It is the centerpiece of my plan to lower taxes and reduce our bloated budget. So many citizens, over the years, have seen the office of Lt. Governor as one of little use or value. I, however, believe I will be able to use it to streamline cost and spending in our state government,” said Lancia during the interview.
“I worked tirelessly to shed a light on the fact that taxpayer money federally mandated for 911 services was being diverted to the state’s general fund, leaving many cities and towns without critical resources during emergencies. I fought for veterans, as well as for children, again reaping positive legislative results. Additionally, I saw to it that we lowered the beach fees in our state, allowing more accessibility while keeping money in the pockets of fellow Rhode Islanders,” said Lancia in a press release earlier in the day.
In Lancia runs, he would face the winner of the contentious race between progressive State Legislator Aaron Regunberg and sitting Democratic Lt. Governor Dan McKee.
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