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Special Alert - Candidate Profile

 

This is the last in a four-part series of candidate profiles for state-wide offices.  As a responsible government and taxpayer advocacy organization, OSTPA looks at each office through the lens of providing effective government at a sustainable cost to businesses and individuals, ultimately leading to prosperity for all RI citizens.

 

You can review our Secretary of State candidate profile, the Attorney General candidate profile, and the Lt. Governor and Treasurer candidate profiles on our website.

 

We urge you to discuss the candidates and the offices with your family, your friends and your business colleagues and pass along the links to those who are interested in finding out more about the candidates. You can also read our two-part, GoLocalProv series that provides context for the Bond Referenda and the Constitutional Convention, question #3 that will appear on your ballot on November 4.

 

In addition to the candidate profiles and the bond referenda, you can view what OSTPA believes were the most important votes in the 2014 Legislative Session and you can see how your State Representative voted.

 

                           CANDIDATE PROFILE - GOVERNOR

 

According to a recent Brown poll, 80% of Rhode Islanders are dissatisfied with the way the state is being governed.  So the question is, will those same people vote to continue the policies that have earned Rhode Island the dubious distinction of being the worst in nearly every category or will they vote to correct the course on which we find ourselves?

 

While limited in comparison to the General Assembly, the office of the Governor will play an important role in setting policy within its domain - whether by reforming rules and regulations, appointing quality leaders in directorships and board roles, or using the bully pulpit to influence the citizens. This may in turn influence the General Assembly on important reform legislation and prioritization of allocating scarce resources. 

 

There are so many important issues Rhode Island faces, it is difficult to address them in this short space. But be clear, the tenor of the gubernatorial race boils down to an age old ideological question - do voters want to spend more money and indebt our future generations or do they want to face the hard truth that RI has spent beyond its means and is at the breaking point? 

 

And although RI has spent like the proverbial drunken sailor, at the same time, it has neglected the most basic government services. Witness the crumbling roads and bridges, dilapidated public school buildings, a subpar educational system, continued insider deals that squander, rather than protect, the state's limited resources, and an economic climate where CVS' own Vice President explained that RI is not on the radar screen as a state in which to establish a business.

 

Gubernatorial candidate Raimondo speaks of serious spending (although she uses the word investing) to grow RI's economy, while candidate Fung speaks of smaller government to reduce costs and attract businesses to grow RI's economy.  Candidate Healey believes we need to significantly reduce the pressure of the noose around the neck of businesses - over-regulation. 

 

Facts to consider: Hundreds of millions of federal dollars from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 did not stimulate RI's economy. RI jobs are nowhere near the pre-recession level. Attempts in the past to reduce the size of government have failed miserably.The state's budget has ballooned by $1 billion in just the past two years.The current Governor's efforts to address over-regulation have gone nowhere. On November 4, you will need to decide if you think additional spending will grow our economy or promises of a smaller, less costly government will.

 

We have provided some highlights below on each gubernatorial candidate and their vision for RI. You must decide which vision Rhode Islanders should trust to change the course of our floundering state. Unfortunately for taxpayers, the public debates among the candidates have fallen very late in the campaign cycle. However, you can watch the Channel 12 debate here, the Channel 6 debate at Roger Williams U Oct 28 Part I and Part II, and the Channel 10 debate here (at RIC Oct 30).  We also encourage you to review the primary debates for each candidate. The links are provided in each profile below.

 

==============================

 

Allan Fung

Fung's website  

Fung's primary debate on Dan Yorke's State of Mind  

 

 

Mayor of Cranston (3 terms) 2008 - present

RI Special Assistant Attorney General

Government Relations Counsel MetLife

Former President of RI League of Cities and Towns

Endorsed by Right To Life

 

As Mayor:

  • Negotiated some pension reforms, including establishing defined contribution plan for new employees; recognizing pension fund is only 22% funded
  • Claims addition of over 1,000 jobs in Cranston
  • Raised taxes in initial years, kept taxes flat in past 3 years

Vision as Governor:

Proposes a $200 million tax cut via:

  • Reduction in corporate tax from current 7% to 6.5%
  • Reduction in the minimum corporate business tax from $500 to $250
  • Increase in estate tax exemption to federal level
  • Lowering sales tax from 7% to 6.25%, comparable to Massachusetts, with an eye to continued reductions in the future as economic activity is spurred

Partially paid for via a:

  • Reduction in state spending growth from 4% to 2%
  • Reduction of state workforce by 5% as a result of operational efficiencies and consolidating functions, noting that New Hampshire's budget is billions less than RI's budget
  • Streamlining of the current 1,600 regulations and moratorium on new regulations from executive branch
  • Creating a Jobs & Education Cabinet in an effort to bring together business, non-profit organizations and state departments including Education, Labor and Training, Commerce RI, Network RI and Business Regulation
  • Reversing the trend of declining tourism by investing in the Tourism industry

Other Elements of Platform:

  • Push for responsible government issues like Line Item Veto, Term Limits for General Assembly members, Ethics Commission jurisdiction over General Assembly members,
  • Push for return to two separate Education Boards - Board of Regents, Board of Governors

 

38 Studios:

  • Opposes paying 38 Studios bonds, rather, establish an escrow account until a result of an independent investigation is provided for the taxpayers
  • Supports a full investigation of 38 Studios in light of state's allegations of fraud
  • Proposes to file a letter with SEC in light of allegations of insider trading
  • Disagrees with bond ratings expectations

 

Other Important Issues:

Supports a Constitutional Convention

Supports Voter ID

Opposes Drivers' Licenses for Illegal Aliens

Opposes Binding Arbitration

Supports E Verify

Supports all bond referenda

Supports state pension reform end result, but faults Raimondo's approach

Opposes state assistance with the Superman Building

Supports consolidation and regionalization of municipal services

Supports right-to-work

Equivocal on standardized testing as graduation requirement

Supports using privatized exchange for RI's Health Insurance Exchange, consider selling the rights to other states, generating a revenue stream and if neither are workable ideas, move to the federal government

 

                          =================================

Gina Raimondo

Raimondo's website 

Raimondo in primary debate on Channel 12 (8/26/14) 

Raimondo in primary debate on Channel 10 at Johnson & Wales 

Raimondo on RI NPR (10/24/14) 

 

 

State General Treasurer 2010 - present

Co-founded venture capital firm, Point Judith Capital

Co-founded venture capital firm, Village Ventures

Board of Directors, Crossroads RI

Endorsed by Planned Parenthood

 

As Treasurer:

  • Spearheaded and shepherded legislation, known as the RI Retirement Security Act of 2011, to reform and save the state pension system
  • Eliminated a serious backlog in the Crime Victims Compensation Fund
  • Led the charge to divest state pension fund from holdings in companies which distribute firearms which purpotedly were performing well
  • Promoted legislation against predatory payday lenders
  • Created the Municipal Road and Bridge Revolving fund, allowing access to more municipal debt
  • Rehired fiscal advisor, First Southwest, after suing them over 38 Studios

Vision as Governor:

More Spending:

  • Establish the RI Innovation Institute, giving away some potentially lucrative I 195 land to house the organization, citing the state of New York and Cornell University's efforts, but which came with a big price tag
  • Establish a funding formula for RIPTA that is less reliant on the gas tax, but no specifics on the source of that funding
  • Invest in RI's Tourism Industry building new infrastructure, but with no specifics on the source of that funding
  • Create a Loan Forgiveness Program for graduates who live and work in RI, funded by participating employers and endow a new College Scholarship Fund, funded by reserves in the RI Higher Education Assistance Authority

More Debt:

  • Rebuild RI's roads and bridges via more debt from the Road and Bridge Revolving Fund 
  • Address homelessness with more debt by issuing 'Social Impact Bonds' and with more regulations in building affordable housing and in regulating the mortgage industry (Social Impact Bonds are simillar to Moral Obligation Bonds in that taxpayers do not approve the debt).
  • Establish a RI Green Energy Bank and Clean Energy Finance Authority (RIGEB), a quasi-public corporation with its own budget, integrating public debt with private capital
  • Create an Adaptation and Resiliency Revolving Fund within the RI Green Energy Bank to establish more debt

More Spending and More Debt:

  • Create the RI School Building Authority to rebuild crumbling schools and improve technology in the classroom, funded through debt as well as a portion of the sales tax, but no specifics on the source of the replacement stream of income or the source of budget cuts required to reallocate that sales tax

Reduce Entry Level Hiring:

  • Raise the minimum wage another 12% to $10.10, after three consecutive years of increases 

Other Elements of Platform:

  • Reducing the burden of current teacher evaluations
  • Review and eliminate overly burdensome business regulations and create a one-stop shopping for all state and municipal permitting and adding to government infrastructure through an Office of Economic Empowerment
  • Create a "Manufacturers' Toolkit" in an effort to help existing manufacturers grow

 

Other Important Issues:

Opposes Constitutional Convention

Opposes Voter ID, supports Repeal of Voter ID

Supports Drivers' Licenses for Illegal Aliens

Opposes Binding Arbitration

Opposes E Verify; opposes verifying employees for state contracts as well

Supports 38 Studios Bond Payment (claims it will cost twice as much if we don't repay the 38 Studios bond in contrast to expert testimony that no one can know the cost, and in fact, a significant range was provided, so large it had no meaning) 

Supports all bond referenda.

Supports and stands by pension reform and notes 90% of General Assembly voted for it, but would go back to the table to negotiate (Law suit remains in play)

Supports incentivizing municipalities by tying state aid to providing municipal transparency and efficiencies in the regulatory environment

Opposes right-to-work

Supports standardized testing as graduation requirement

Supports maintaining RI's Health Insurance Exchange. Reduce the cost of maintenance by licensing and creating a revenue stream. Opposes surcharge on policyholders, but figure out a way to fund the exchange

 

                          =================================                                Bob Healey

Healey's website  

Healey's interview on Dan Yorke's State of Mind  

Healey's GoLocalProv Mindsetter Article

 

 

Attorney and Businessman

Relies on support from average people and free media

 

Vision as Governor:

  • Develop Zero based budget
  • Consider not paying 38 Studios bond moral obligation; it is not a debt
  • Address the over-regulation of business; a serious drain on RI's economy
  • Reduce municipal property taxes by instituting a state-wide teachers' contract accompanied by funding from state income tax
  • Turn Health Insurance Exchange over to the federal government

 

Other Important Issues:

Supports a Constitutional Convention

Supports Voter ID

Opposes Drivers' Licenses for Illegal Aliens, however, does support 'driving papers' and auto insurance for illegal aliens

Opposes Binding Arbitration

Supports E Verify

Supports return of COLA in state employee pension system

Opposes right-to-work

Supports union recertification every 4 years

Supports consolidation/regionalization of municipal services by getting people to agree to work more efficiently

Opposes new government infrastructure like Raimondo's Innovation Institute.  "RI has a bad foundation, no need to build a second story on it".

 

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

 

Please share this Special Alert - informed citizens makes for better government

 

           VOTE on Tuesday, November 4 - Your voice makes a difference

 

 

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

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