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Part 1: Mark Baumer Reflection: Impounding Vehicles & Immigrant Rights

This is part of a multi-part reflection I've been doing following the death of my friend, Mark Baumer . There's nothing graphic i...

Well, I tried. ;-)



It's a little odd the way this is presented. One of Rachel's work friends told her that her boyfriend has been throwing garbage and curses at the TV screen all week when the commercial for my upcoming piece came on, but that once he saw it he decided my argument was fair. So that's hopeful. I sort of think the way the news anchors open up by talking about how weird and unpopular my idea is biases the audience. It's also weird how--although later in the piece they do quote me explicitly talking about lowering other taxes--they don't present my proposal at the opening as a trade-off to lower different taxes for working-class and middle-class people, but as a proposal to keep or raise the car tax. 

And the piece presents the differences between communities' tax levels as if it's a counterpoint to my argument, when I explicitly talked with them for some time about how I wanted a one-state-one-rate policy. It's not necessarily that NBC 10 deliberately says I don't support that goal, but the casual observer couldn't be blamed for being confused.

I'm a little sad that the question: "You pay sales tax only once on a washing machine, but you pay year after year for the car tax?" wasn't included. I enjoyed responding off-guard to that question, by saying that one's washing machine doesn't bounce down the street creating climate change, potholes, congestion, and death. But here is your moment of zen, anyway:


NBC 10's Katie Davis did a good job of presenting how unfair this tax cut would be to lower income people, but didn't include information about just how much people have to pay as RIPTA riders compared to drivers in Rhode Island. Even in Providence or Pawtucket, with by far the highest tax rate on cars (around 6%), RIPTA users pay more to buy passes than drivers pay for $16,000 cars. On Block Island, with the lowest car tax, a person with an $85,000 car pays less than the yearly RIPTA cost in car taxes. All that despite the fact that drivers pay for only 50% of the cost of roads through user fees like the gas tax or car taxes.

I consider it a victory that Mayor Don Grebien of Pawtucket is on record now saying that he thinks one-state-one-rate makes sense. Perhaps we can get those "Fair Shot" progressives to speak up. 

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