Providence Journal: Protest of GOP tax plan draws 100 to R.I. State House [Video]

Robert Graves, of Indivisible RI, spoke first, reading ”’Tis the Night Before Taxes” - a play on ”’Twas The Night Before Christmas” that made many in the crowd giggle.

By Jacqueline Tempera

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — About 100 people gathered at the State House on Saturday morning to protest the proposed Republican tax plan that passed the House last week.

And despite the dense material they discussed, organizers managed to impart some holiday spirit to the post-Thanksgiving crowd.

Robert Graves, of Indivisible RI, spoke first, reading ”’Tis the Night Before Taxes” - a play on ”’Twas The Night Before Christmas” that made many in the crowd giggle.

“Tis the night before taxes and all the through the land, as we the taxpayers are about to be scammed, Republicans passed Trump’s tax hoax with ease. In hope’s ’we the peoples″ money they’d seize,” he read. “Most of us worry, awake in our beds, of wages decreased, bank accounts in the red.”

Four groups organized the “Kill The ‘Trump Tax Scam’ Rally.” They are Indivisible RI, a group that works to resist President Donald Trump’s agenda, the RI Women’s March on Washington, the Service Employees International Union, and The Woman Project, a not-for-profit artistic activism group.

Carrying signs that read “Don’t Trickle Down on Me” and “Trickle Down is a Pipe Dream” people from across the state expressed anxiety over the proposed bill.

The “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” which is headed to the Senate, would be the biggest rewrite of the nation’s tax code in 30 years. It would bring lower rates for corporations, reduce personal taxes for many with fewer reductions for home buyers and families with steep medical bills, while also increasing the national debt, phasing-out the inheritance tax, and repealing alternative minimum tax on the highest earners, according to an analysis by The Associated Press.

The cuts for the wealthiest Americans leave some, like Jodi Glass “utterly frustrated.”

Glass, 64, of Providence, attended Saturday’s protest with her 16-year-old dog Chelsea, a spaniel and beagle mix. She said she is “extremely confused” by the tax plan, but she said it is “the obvious” that truly angers her.

“It will only help those who are wealthy and those in business,” Glass said. “To me one needs to go no further. It’s so obviously self serving.”

In her remarks Shawna Rihani, Indivisible RI’s assistant executive director, said she wanted to send a clear message to Washington.

“They thought it would be easy. They thought that we would just believe them. They are reducing our taxes, how can we argue with that?” Rihani said. “They didn’t know we would read the fine print and oh what a Christmas surprise we did find.”

The plan amounts to a “huge payout for the wealthy” that would fall on the backs of the middle class, Rihani said.

“The GOP no longer works for the middle class,” Rihani said. “This is intended for one purpose alone — to reward their donors, to slash taxes on corporations, and to stick us with the bill.”

Rep. Aaron Regunberg, a candidate for lieutenant governor, said he was “mad as hell” about the Republican plan. He said the bill benefits the top 10 percent of Americans or ” the Eric and Ivanka and Donald Trump Jr.’s of the world.”

Regunberg, a Providence Democrat, did not limit his criticism to national politics. He said a similar “tax scam” has already played out in Rhode Island.

“The truth is, our state has engaged in the same trickle-down policies that are coming out of Washington. Rhode Island cut income taxes on the highest earners. They said that would lead to jobs. Well, the jobs never came — but a big budget deficit did, along with cuts in needed services and a bigger tax burden on working families,” Regunberg said.

Lt. Gov. Daniel McKee, who recently announced his plan to run for re-election, deferred comment about the tax plan to Rhode Island’s national delegation.

“His view is this is a national issue, a national debate best left to our national delegation,” Mike Trainor, a spokesman for McKee said.

Requests for comment from Brandon Bell, the head of the state’s GOP, and Mayor Allan Fung, a Republican candidate for governor, were not immediately returned.

Earlier this week, House Minority Leader Patricia Morgan, who is also running for governor, said she supported the plan, which she said would create jobs, boost wages and brighten futures across the state.

However, the West Warwick Republican acknowledged it would not help all Rhode Islanders. She said she is committed to reducing the state’s tax burden.

At the rally, Roy Streit, Indivisible RI’s legislative liaison, urged attendees to call not only their congress members, but those in red states.

Be polite and persistent, he said. “Call them and tell them what you think.”

Watch the Video Here


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