What’s in…What’s out…this week 6-23

 

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What’s in… What’s out…

What’s in…

The Rhode Island State Budget… for fiscal year 2018 was under debate Thursday and by the time you read this it may be one step closer to passage. Among the budget items up for passage is the rebirth of the car tax phase out plan of 1998. The plan is very similar to the car tax phase out plan passed in 1998. The car tax phase out plan is a six year plan. As you may remember, the plan passed in 1998 was frozen after only a few years and then totally discontinued in 2011 because of declining revenues and budget restraints. Will the General Assembly have the money to eliminate the car tax? It certainly is hard to predict what the fiscal condition of the state will be within the next several years. But a promise is a promise. And as a sponsor of the original car tax phase out plan in 1998, I found out that you can’t always predict what lies ahead. Economic policies and elected officials can change, sometimes overnight, and no one can predict what the future can bring or who will oppose the plan in the future. I am a believer that the car tax phase out plan is a commitment that was originally made to the people of this state in 1998 and am hopeful for its success – but I have my doubts. As the saying goes, “been there, done that, and bought the tee-shirt.”

The $9.2 billion state budget also includes… 2 Years Free Tuition at Community College of RI (CCRI)… A scaled down version of the Governor’s Free Tuition plan has emerged. Some changes were made to the plan including the elimination of the community service requirement and applicants must maintain a 2.5 average. And only CCRI. This is a big change from the Governor’s original plan. One has to wonder how much money was spent on commercials to promote Governor Raimondo’s tuition plan? It hardly seems like the outcome was a success considering the money spent on commercials and the free tuition campaigning done across the state.

Free RIPTA Bus Passes for Seniors… are also included in the budget. This is the right thing to do and one of those items that should never be cut.

Kudos to Majority Leader Joe Shekarchi… for sponsoring House bill 6295 that ensures that insurances fully cover mastectomies. With health insurers wanting to cover less and less, it’s important to put in legislation that protects us.

 

What’s out…

North Korea… North Korea finally releases Otto Warmbier in critical condition and he died a few days later. We are living in barbaric times. Do not send your children to places like North Korea or other countries where they have no value for human life. A travel ban should be issued for the countries who continually prove to be sadistic monarchies.

Rudeness and Disrespect and Bullying… have no place in our State House… It may be that some people were having a bad day, but please let’s not forget that the State House is the people’s house and treating its guests as unwanted guests just isn’t right. Not to mention that many who visit the State House are seniors who are much older than the people who work there. This wasn’t the first time that we’ve heard of such rudeness. It’s been around a long time and not just to people testifying. It can also happen to workers and colleagues there who disagree with the status quo. So please let’s not have our State House be the place that makes the laws but refuses to follow them.

 

 

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