December 22, 2014
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Time to get back to our roots

To the Editor:

Now that the General Assembly is back in session, it is my New Year’s resolution for Rhode Island to correct a near-decade of failed tax policy. For nearly a decade, the leadership of the General Assembly, buoyed on by a right wing governor’s office, has implemented a flawed policy of tax breaks for the wealthy in a desperate attempt to create jobs.

For far too long, we as a state have endured massive cuts to social services, one cut after another to our hardworking public employees and teachers, and several tax increases to the middle class; this at the same time as the top 5 percent of earners in Rhode Island received over $350 million in tax cuts over the last several years.

Decade after decade we have this debate over and over again. What is the best way to create jobs? It is very clear the trickle-down economics is not effective. Our policies in Rhode Island over the past decade are just the latest example. The only way for an economy to prosper, whether it be a state or an entire country, is for the middle class to be strong and robust. Without a strong middle class, economies fail. The middle class plays a very important role in any economy. The middle class is responsible for producing the goods/services that create the wealthy. The middle class is also responsible for paying a large portion of taxes, which support the services we, as Rhode Islanders, use every day. Maybe the most important role of the middle class here in Rhode Island, and anywhere capitalism exists, is the purchasing of goods and services they themselves produce. Without a robust middle class, there is no one to purchase these goods.

Here in Rhode Island, we must stop chasing a failed policy of giving away the store to large companies who come to R.I., use up the tax incentives and subsequently leave for greener pastures. We have many attributes here in R.I. Unfortunately one of them is not a strong middle class. We must get back to our roots. Workers once made this state prosperous. It appears now we have been reduced to sacrificing our values to appease a select few companies and individuals who bring with them false promises of prosperity for the working men and women of R.I.

So while the state’s leaders play games with the tax code, slash social service programs, break contracts with its public employees and teachers, and raise taxes on small businesses, the top 5 percent receive more than a quarter million dollars in tax cuts. The only way to correct this misguided policy is for working men and women to join together and demand a correction of the tax code. Public and private sector workers, union and non-union workers must come together and work to stop these failed policies that hurt all workers. I urge everyone to get involved and demand a return back to our roots. This great state was built on the backs of hardworking men and women. We have dealt with these destructive polices for too long. The time for recognizing workers in R.I. is now.

Mike McDonald
President Local 528
W. Kingston


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