CITY OF WOONSOCKET, RHODE ISLAND James C. Cournoyer City Council

PRESS RELEASE July 3, 2018

Woonsocket City Councilman, James Cournoyer, issued a press release today stating "in approving Mayor Lisa Baldelli-Hunt’s uncompromising veto of the amendments put forth by the majority of the council in connection with the fiscal year 2019 Budget, Richard Fagnant and Melissa Murray dragged the city back to the failed practices of the past".

Cournoyer said "the mayor, Murray and Fagnant pushed through an "election year" budget that relies on gimmicks and one-time events that effectively creates a structural deficit for the city going into fiscal year 2020 and grows our cost structure beyond what is affordable and sustainable".

"Moreover, the mayor’s budget further punishes an already overburdened commercial tax base that currently carries 30% of the total tax levy burden (not counting the Tangible Property taxes they pay, which increases the commercial payers’ share to an even higher level). The 30% is the second highest in the state and the mayor’s budget supported by Fagnant and Murray increases that burden to 35%" said Cournoyer.

Cournoyer went on to say "Shifting such a significant amount of the burden onto our commercial taxpayers simply because they don’t vote in elections is just bad policy. Commercial taxpayers vote with their feet. The mayor and her team’s election year actions are tantamount to the failed bad practices of the past such as increasing the homestead exemption to imprudent levels in a shameless attempt to curry votes. It may make for good politics, but it is not what leaders should do if they care about the long-term fiscal health of the city."

Cournoyer concluded by saying "In rubber-stamping the mayor’s uncompromising ‘my way or the high-way’ election year budget, Fagnant and Murray took away salary increases from a number of our municipal employees including Chief Oates, Chief Shatraw and our municipal court judge. They took away additional funding for our seniors and the Senior Center. But most egregiously, they sent a clear message that they don’t care about our local businesses and that they instead view them as nothing more than entities to be harvested. The mayor’s veto letter reinforced the message that commercial taxpayers are second class citizens in Woonsocket, as she mentioned the residential taxpayers twice, but never once mentioned the commercial taxpayers and the fact that she is heaping an even greater share of the tax burden onto their already overburdened shoulders."     

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