Speaker Fox: ‘I don’t want to raise taxes on anyone’December 31st, 2010 at 3:04 pm by Ted Nesi under General Talk
Well, nobody ever says he wants to raise taxes. The question is whether you do despite that.
The Pawtucket Times’ Jim Baron has a lengthy interview with House Speaker Gordon Fox that’s well worth a read. Here’s what Fox has to say about Gov.-elect Lincoln Chafee and his proposal to levy a new 1% sales tax on items that are currently exempt from the 7% sales tax as a way to help close next year’s $295 million budget deficit:
Fox says he sees Chafee as someone he can deal with.
“I can already say I like the guy,” Fox said of the incoming governor. “I find him to be a straight shooter and he shows compassion for folks. You can’t always say that about people in this building.” …
The Speaker said he is ready to sit down and talk budget with Chafee when he gets his fiscal team in place.
Nonetheless, he repeats: “I don’t want to raise taxes on anyone, especially the sales tax, because that can hurt the lower and middle income people. I won’t say no, but it may take a lot of convincing,” for him to embrace Chafee’s 1 percent plan. There may be room to maneuver, however, because Fox says, “We have gone from having an economy based on goods to a service-based economy and our sales tax has never reflected that.”
Fox’s warm comments about Chafee personally and as a colleague fit with what most observers have suggested – the General Assembly’s leadership will likely find it easier to deal with the governor-elect than with Carcieri because Chafee’s policy views are more in line with their own. But that doesn’t make them any more enthusiastic about the idea of enacting a new broad-based tax on their constituents, budget deficit or not.
Among other highlights, Fox told Baron he wants the General Assembly to take an active role in implementing President Obama’s Affordable Care Act; hopes to use Central Falls to create a template for how to aid ailing cities and towns; thinks the time may be right to legalize gay marriage here; and he plans to keep a close eye on Massachusetts’ next moves when it comes to casinos.