The Rhode Island Diet; Too Much Fat Is Not Healthy in State Government Budgets
Byline: THE WASHINGTON TIMES
A budget crisis means different things to different people. For a family, a budget crisis might mean an overdrawn checking account, an empty refrigerator, a stack of unpaid bills and a house foreclosure note on the front door.
For politicians, a "budget crisis" usually means this year's spending increase turns out to be less than expected. Wait 'til next year.
Making ends meet by slashing expenses isn't how many governors deal with fiscal crisis. Why bother, when they can simply dig deeper into their constituents' pockets?
Gov. Mark Dayton, a Democrat, wants to reward his constituents in Minnesota with a $2.1 billion tax increase. Gov. Peter Shumlin of Vermont, a Democrat, who has done nothing to prevent enormous property-tax increases in his state, is about to sign legislation to levy new taxes on tobacco and certain health care services. Last week, Gov. Pat Quinn of Illinois, a Democrat, wants to make an unpopular income-tax increase permanent. Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, a Republican, is eager to raise taxes on electronic "cigarettes."
Perhaps no governor introduced a more irresponsible budget, or intends to pay for it in more irresponsible ways, than Gov. Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island, a Democrat. He proposes the costliest budget in the state's history, setting off a budget crisis, and immediately said he plans to pay for it with tax increases on bed-and-breakfast inns and e-cigarettes.
Rhode Island taxpayers will get a better understanding of just how outrageous Mr. Chafee's budget is Wednesday when the Rhode Island Center for Freedom & Prosperity, a Providence-based free-market think tank, and the Taxpayers Protection Alliance, a government watchdog, will release a report with particulars of the state's spending spree. …