The Scoop - 8 Ways the Gov’t Shutdown Will Impact Rhode Island
Monday, September 30, 2013
U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse are warning that a government shutdown would hinder economic recovery, jeopardize important services for working families, and have a negative effect on Rhode Island.
“If Republicans who consider themselves members of the Tea Party force a government shutdown, commerce won’t grind to a halt but our economy will take a needless hit and there could be a ripple effect that hurts states, local communities, and the middle-class. The American people want their government to work and they want their representatives in Washington to work together. There are a lot of unknowns about a shutdown’s impacts, but forcing the government to shut down for reasons the vast majority of Americans disagree with is a terrible signal and could create undue hardships for families and businesses,” said Reed.
The federal government will shut down on Tuesday if Democrats and Republicans don’t strike a budget deal by midnight tonight.
See the SLIDESHOW below on how a government shutdown would impact Rhode Island.
The Rhode Island Tea Party has had enough of what it calls Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse’s contentious rhetoric towards its members—both locally and nationally. Here's what Susan Wynne, President of the Rhode Island Tea Party told GoLocal following Whitehouse's comments that the House's Tea Party members were making "extremist" demands.
"Does the Senator think so little of the people of Rhode Island that he continues to embarrass us with his name calling? Is this the kind of behavior Rhode Islanders deserve from their Senator? Sadly, it has become what we expect. It seems his only interest in the First Amendment applies so long as you agree with his point of view and follow in lockstep with the administration,” Wynne told GoLocal.
On Friday, Sen. Whitehouse issued a statement, which read in part: “It’s time for Speaker Boehner and his House Republicans to drop their extremist demands – demands that were just the subject of the Presidential election which they lost – and join the Senate to do what’s right."
In the past, Whitehouse has referred to members of the Tea Party as extremists, fanatics and the "lunatic fringe."
As for the possibility of a government shutdown, the RI Tea Party does not have an official stance on the matter, but Wynne did tell GoLocal the following: “Many of us are asking ourselves, why not? Especially since important services such as social security, Medicaid, military salaries, etc will remain intact."
A special legislative commission created to study the Rhode Island sales tax will meet at 4 p.m. Monday, September 30, in Room 313 of the State House and, in addition to other business, will take public testimony.
“The goal of today’s meeting is to learn more about the history of Rhode Island’s sales tax and to receive comparative data on sales tax collections in other states," Rep. Jan P. Malik, the commission co-chair, told GoLcoal. "John Simmons of RIPEC, a member of the commission, has prepared an extensive report for the members that will include historical and comparative information on collections, rates and exemptions. It also examines recent changes that have been made to Rhode Island’s sales tax structure."
Additionally, today's meeting will also include public testimony. “It is important to receive public testimony in order for us to gauge the opinions of others, especially those in the business community who are impacted by sales tax. I am hopeful that good ideas will emerge that are offered by members of the public,” Malik told GoLocal.
Voter Registration Deadlines for November Election
Sunday, October 6th, 2013 is the last day to register to vote for the November 5th election in Central Falls and Woonsocket. The following locations will be open so voters may register.
- Central Falls City Hall at 580 Broad Street Central Falls, RI. (1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.)
- Woonsocket City Hall / 3rd Floor at 169 Main Street Woonsocket, RI. (1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.)
In order to register to vote, you must be 18 years old, a U. S. citizen and a resident of the community in which you wish to vote. In addition, state law requires voters who have moved or changed their names to re-register.
If you are not sure whether you are registered to vote or whether your voter-registration information is up to date, you can look yourself up using the Voter Information Center on our website www.sos.ri/vic
Voters must present an ID before voting such as a RI Driver’s license, RI State ID or Social Security Card. For a complete list of acceptable IDs visit www.sos.ri.gov or call (401) 222-2340.
Several legislators will host a community discussion this evening on the use of the New England Common Assessment Program (NECAP) test as a graduation requirement and how to work together to build a better future for Rhode Island students.
The event, which is called “Great Futures of ALL Rhode Island Students: Keeping the Conversation Going,” will take place tonight from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Rhode Island College, Alger Hall, Room 110. It is free and open to the public.
Rep. Maria Cimini (D-Dist. 7, Providence), Rep. Frank Ferri (D-Dist. 22, Warwick), Rep. Eileen S. Naughton (D-Dost. 22, Warwick and Rep. Teresa Tanzi (D-Dist. 34, South Kingstown, Narragansett) are all expected to participate.
Besides legislators, students, parents, teachers and other community members are expected to participate. Many Rhode Islanders remain concerned about this critical issue and feel there is more to be heard, more to be learned, and more solutions to be sought. The legislators involved all agree that Rhode Island's schools should have the highest possible standards, but that the question is whether utilizing NECAP as a make-or-break obstacle to graduation will bring Rhode Island closer to that goal.
This event is part of the National Week of Action organized by Progressive States Action, a national nonprofit organization working with state lawmakers to advance policies that protect and strengthen public education in the states. Legislators, teachers, students, advocates and families across the country will be taking part to lift up the voices, the messages, and the policies that advance our vision of a strong educational infrastructure for America – with schools that belong to us all and benefit us all as the foundation.
Anthony Sionni, a candidate for Providence City Council Ward 14, is not pleased that money that could be used for improving roads is going to sign making.
“It's a waste of money, if it comes out of the road bond money, we could use that to fix more sidewalks or go to the cost of repaving the roads, Sionni told GoLocal. “These signs are just giving credit to politicians!”
Sionni’s ire is targeted at the City’s numerous “Improvement Project” signs, which represent Mayor Angel Taveras’ newly enacted Road Improvement Project—an initiative that aims to repair 65 miles of roads in Providence.
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A shut down would put a stop to the Small Business Administration’s ability to provide a critical source of small business credit until the government resumes operation. According to the SBA, Rhode Island is home to 23,537 small businesses. In Rhode Island during FY12, SBA approved $87.4 million loans to local small businesses.
The Department of Defense estimates that during a shutdown nearly half of the civilian workforce would be sent home without pay, while the rest would continue to work for delayed pay, impacting over 4,000 civilian workers in Rhode Island. Additionally, nearly 7,300 servicemembers in Rhode Island would remain on duty, but could see their pay delayed if the shutdown extends for more than 10 days.
Although checks for current Social Security benefits would still go out during a shutdown, applications for new benefits would be delayed and services for seniors could be significantly curtailed. The benefits of 200,000 Rhode Islanders on Social Security (retirees, the disabled, children, and widows) could be denied services because of the shutdown.
The processing of new educational, pay, and pension benefits for the 90,000 Rhode Island veterans could be delayed. During the 1995-96 shutdowns, more than 400,000 veterans nationwide saw their disability benefits and pension claims delayed, while educational benefits were delayed for 170,000 veterans.
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