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Lynch Hits Chafee on Sales Tax

This just in from Attorney General Patrick Lynch, Democratic cnadidate for governor, on independent Lincoln Chafee's talk of taxing items like food and medicine currently exempt from the sales tax:

“Senator Chafee’s proposal to change the current sales tax to a two-tiered tax on items including food and clothing is wrongheaded at best.  This proposal will only add to the tax burden of the people who need help the most in these difficult times.  At a time when people are already struggling to decide if they can afford groceries or medicine, Senator Chafee wants to tax them both and make it more expensive for Rhode Island’s families.

We need proposals that will create jobs and strengthen the economy.  Unfortunately, this proposal will disproportionately hurt working families and deepen the recession in Rhode Island. Balancing the budget on the backs of the middle class may be appealing to Washington insiders like Senator Chafee, but it is not good policy for working Rhode Islanders.”

Of course, as Scott MacKay over at WRNI points out, Chafee could score some points for laying out a concrete proposal while his opponents swim in generalities. Particularly with the Smith Hill debate moving inexorably toward some sort of tax hike.

The sales tax proposal does make for an inviting target, though. The state Republican and Democratic party chairmen have already taken shots, making for a less-than-smooth rollout. But an attention-grabbing one, for sure. One, Chafee no doubt hopes, that will make him look like a leader.

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