My name is Dan Reilly and I am running for state representative in District 72, which encompasses portions of all three Aquidneck Island communities.
Our state is in a precarious financial situation, with double-digit unemployment, negative job growth, and businesses and residents which continue to leave our state at an alarming rate. As a native Rhode Islander who grew up in Portsmouth, I am greatly concerned about the future of our state, and the direction we are headed in.
I could make my campaign all about the failures of the General Assembly. It would come to a point, however, where I would just be stating the obvious, and people would (rightly) want to know what I intend to do about our problems. In some cases, legislators can best help this state not by pushing for particular policies but rather by focusing on what to not do. I will never vote for a budget that cuts aid to any community on Aquidneck Island. I will never vote for a school funding formula that is not fair and equitable, and does not adversely affect Aquidneck Island communities. I will also not vote for a House leadership team that does not support certain reforms that must be made in our legislative process, including, but certainly not limited to, posting bills online before they can be voted on, making all legislative committee and sub-committee meetings public, televising all meetings over the Internet using the existing Capitol TV infrastructure, and requiring that all votes be viewable online within 30 minutes of the vote being taken. These are not complicated – yet we have yet to implement these reforms. Why?
I want to streamline government by consolidating agencies and reducing spending at the top of organizations, and reduce the total number of government departments that report to the governor. I wish to consolidate all purchasing, human resources function, information technology services, and capital projects planning within the Department of Administration. On top of this, I wish to cut the budget of the part-time General Assembly, which currently has 300 full-time employees and a budget approaching $40 million.
For small businesses, I intend to work to eliminate the minimum franchise tax, and work to phase out the corporate income tax. I also believe we should establish a program of income tax deferment for retained earnings, allowing businesses to retain more of their profits so they can invest in their operations and hire more employees. For homeowners and residents, I intend to vote to fully-fund the obligations of the state towards the towns, cities, and schools, so that property taxes do not continue to spiral upwards. I will also work to eliminate the car tax, which was supposed to be eliminated 12 years ago.
Keep in mind that none of these reforms have been pushed by my opponent. Incumbent, career politician legislators such as my opponent give themselves a pat on the back for passing a budget that didn't raise state taxes, yet drastically increased your car taxes and property taxes. They passed "income tax reform" which is revenue-neutral and eliminated the flat tax and most deductions for the middle class. What can my opponent be proud of?
I am running for office because I care about my home state just as much as anyone else does, and I intend to do my best to improve the lives of Rhode Islanders and make our state an even better place in which to live, do business, and raise a family. I hope that you share my vision for a better future and I respectfully ask for your vote tomorrow, Nov. 2.
Daniel P. Reilly