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Special Alert - Two State-Wide Offices - Lt. Governor and Treasurer

 

This is the third in a four-part series of candidate profiles for state-wide offices.  OSTPA looks at each office through the lens of providing effective government at a sustainable cost to businesses and individuals.  You can view the Secretary of State profile and the Attorney General profile previously distributed.  We urge you to discuss the candidates and the offices with your family, your friends and your business colleagues and pass along the link to those who are interested in finding out more about the candidates.

 

 

                    CANDIDATE PROFILE - LT. GOVERNOR -

                      CATHERINE TAYLOR AND DAN MCKEE

 

Given the elevated profile of the Lt. Governor's Office resulting from the lead role in implementing the Health Insurance Exchange, the issue of support or opposition to socialized healthcare is paramount in considering the candidates for this office.

 

This year, legislation was introduced to socialize all healthcare in RI. Former Representatives Ferri, Coderre, and Cimini and current Representatives Naughton and McNamara, along with Senators Goldin, Nesselbush, Cool Rumsey, Conley and Miller proposed to take all private insurance dollars, as well as all Medicaid and Medicare funds, and funnel them through a newly established Healthcare Authority.  Every RI citizen and business would be required to purchase healthcare insurance through the Health Insurance Exchange. 

 

In the primary debate on Channel 12's Newsmakers, Dan McKee voiced his support for socializing healthcare in the State of RI. He would like to add to the staff in the Lt. Governor's office to pursue this issue as it relates to insurance costs. Catherine Taylor is opposed to the idea of socializing all healthcare in the state. 

 

In addition to differing on socialized healthcare in RI, they also differ on whether the state should retain management of the Exchange. Ms. Taylor believes that, having been originally introduced as a  Republican concept, the state should retain management of the Exchange.  She has stated that she doesn't necessarily believe the reported cost of maintaining the Exchange and would like to delve into those figures. Mayor McKee, on the other hand, "is skeptical about the value of RI's Exchange marketplace ", especially in light of its cost.  He believes the maintenance cost should be put back in the budget.

 

Endorsements of the candidates almost appear to be topsy-turvy. Typically, the Democratic candidate secures the public union endorsements. In this race, Ms. Taylor has secured most of those endorsements including the AFL-CIO, the RI Federation for Teachers and Health Professional, AFSCME Council 94, SEIU and others. Remember, in the primary, it was an "anybody but McKee" campaign because of his support for charter schools.

 

While it is difficult to see how these candidates can push their agenda in other areas, because of their diversified background, they have put forth very different platforms.  Below is a summary of what they view as important for the State of RI to move forward, however, there have been few specifics given as to how they would accomplish any policy changes supporting those views since the Office of Lt. Governor does not come with a significant role in setting policy. 

 

OSTPA contacted each campaign to obtain more specifics. Taylor's campaign responded and we have included the specifics below.  McKee's campaign did not respond.

 

If you haven't seen the candidates in action, you can watch their September debate on State of the State here. You can also listen to both of them debate on WPRO this past Tuesday. And, if you are still unsure at that point, you can set your DVR to Channel 12 at 5:30 a.m. on Sunday morning, November 2nd, and watch them on Newsmakers.

 

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CATHERINE TAYLOR (R) PROFILE

Taylor's website

Taylor on RI NPR

 

 

 

Former State Director of Elderly Affairs appointed under Lincoln Chafee

Former aid to late US Senators John Chafee and then Senator Lincoln Chafee

 

Platform:

  • Discourage young retirees from claiming residency outside of RI through   changes in tax policy
  • Focus on healthcare as a workforce issue
  • Focus on healthcare as a business; through use of Long Term Care Coordinating Council and the Small Business Advocacy Council (both under the purview of the Lt. Governor) work to drive down the cost of healthcare agencies, thereby reducing the cost in the delivery system

Other Issues:

  •  Supports a Constitutional Convention
  •  Supports Ethics Committee with jurisdiction over General Assembly    members
  •  Opposes Binding Arbitration for public employees
  •  Supports standardized testing as graduation requirement
  •  Opposes annual teacher evaluations
  •  Supports increase in estate tax credit to the federal threshold of $5.25  million
  •  Supports elimination of state income tax on state and municipal  pensions  as well as social security benefits, veteran's benefits and  military  pensions
  •  Supports increased pay for direct care workers
  •  Supports Voter ID
  •  Supports investigation of 38 Studios
  •  Opposes Right to Work
  •  Supports transfer of Health Insurance Exchange to the Office of Health  Insurance Commission
  •  Supports General Assembly legislation confirming the existence in law of  the Exchange as opposed to the Governor's Executive Order.

                  ***********************************************************

 

DAN MCKEE (D) PROFILE

McKee on Newsmakers in primary debate

McKee on RI NPR 

 

 

Mayor of Cumberland - 6 terms

Small Business Owner

Denounced "Go Along to Get Along" culture of his own RI Democratic Party 

 

Platform:

  • Job Creation through tax policy reform and removing regulatory barriers
  • Improve access to education
  • Involve municipal leaders more in state government in an effort to push regionalization and consolidation of services
  • Focus on small business

Other Issues:

  •  Supports Constitutional Convention
  •  Supports Ethics Committee with jurisdiction over General Assembly  members
  •  Opposes Binding Arbitration
  •  Supports standardized testing as a graduation requirement
   ___________________________________________________________
 
CANDIDATE PROFILE - TREASURER - 
ERNIE ALMONTE AND SETH MAGAZINER

 

Reform of the state pension system has been a long haul and in its turbulent wake, has brought significant attention to the Office of the Treasurer. Treasurer Raimondo led the efforts to ensure the pension system was sustainable and, as a result, public unions have filed suit against the State. Both candidates for Treasurer have pledged to negotiate a settlement to the pension lawsuit. Mr. Magaziner would seek to return to mediation on day one. Mr. Almonte has stated that he would seek an agreement that would not add to the unfunded liability. 

 

Both candidates agree with paying the 38 Studio bonds and both would no longer contract with financial advisor, First Southwest, the firm that Chafee and Raimondo are suing for fraud in connection with 38 Studios, but with whom they recently signed a new two-year contract. 

 

The Treasurer has a fiduciary responsibility in managing and properly reporting on the state's pension system.  Mr. Almonte believes the state should be using a lower assumed rate of return when calculating the pension liability, 7% rather than the current 7.5%, more accurately estimating the current and future economic conditions.  Mr. Magaziner believes it is where it should be. 

 

When Treasurer Raimondo dropped the assumed rate of return from the 8.25% the state previously used, many public unions decried the move saying it was not reasonable to assume a 7.5% rate of return over the life of the investments. Most economists would disagree, except that perhaps it should be lower.

 

For more information, you can watch Almonte and Magaziner debate on Newsmakers (7/11/14) and on John Carlevale's (Candidate for Secretary of State), State of the State (9/25/14)  or you can watch them individually interviewed by various media organizations provided in the links below.  

 

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ERNIE ALMONTE (I) PROFILE

Almonte's website

Almonte on Dan Yorke's State of Mind

Almonte on RI NPR

 

 

Former RI Auditor General (1994-2010)

CPA (Certified Public Accountant)

Certified Government Financial Manager

Fraud investigator

 

Platform:

  •  Create a Treasurer's Financial Expert Resource Team to assist  municipalities
  •  Create Veteran's Liaison
  •  Work to reduce the cost of contracts
  •  Increase transparency in use of financial managers
  •  Provide fraud identification and prevention training to other areas of      government

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SETH MAGAZINER (D) PROFILE

Magaziner's website

Magaziner on RI NPR (9/12/14) 

Magaziner on State of the State (4/10/14) 

 

 

 

 

Vice President Trillium Asset Management (2010 - present)

Former Elementary school teacher

 

Platform:

Advocates more spending and debt:

  •  Expand the Clean Water Finance Agency into a 'state infrastructure bank'
  •  Create a School Building Capital Improvement Authority
  •  Create a RI Green Bank
  •  Expand Historic Preservation Tax Credit

Proposes as Treasurer to:

  • Invest state pension money in new RI startup companies
  • Work with municipalities on critical pension funds
  • Fight for workers' rights to organize, for job security and 'livable' wages

 

 

If you have found our Weekly Legislative Alerts informative & the website a good source of information, please consider a donation to help us maintain these tools.  RI citizens have very little access to the candid information the OSTPA provides & even less access to a platform that connects the dots from the legislators, to the legislation, to the resulting impact on the RI economy

PLEASE CLICK HERE TO DONATE

 

 

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