National Dems go after independent Chafee’s tax plan; 1st ad by outside group in RI gov’s raceBy Michelle R. Smith, AP
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
National Democrats go after Chafee’s RI tax plan
PROVIDENCE, R.I. — A national Democratic group is going after independent Rhode Island gubernatorial candidate Lincoln Chafee in a new TV ad being released Tuesday, marking the first time an outside group has advertised in the race.
The ad by the Democratic Governors Association covers a familiar line of attack against Chafee: that his plan to institute a 1 percent tax on items that are exempt from the state’s 7 percent sales tax is a burden to struggling Rhode Island residents.
The state’s unemployment rate has been among the worst in the country for months and stood at 11.8 percent in August.
Chafee’s main opponent, Democratic General Treasurer Frank Caprio, has been pounding Chafee’s plan in a series of TV ads over the past few weeks. His ads and the one from the governors association focus on people having to pay more for groceries, medicine, gas and other staples.
“Some Rhode Islanders can afford Lincoln Chafee’s new tax, but there are too many more who can’t,” the association’s ad says. “If you care about those who are struggling, Lincoln Chafee’s tax plan is wrong for you.”
Chafee says the idea is a less painful way to close persistent state budget gaps than raising property tax rates, which is what has happened recently, with tax rates skyrocketing in some communities. Chafee argues that property tax is not optional and hurts everyone, and therefore a minimal sales tax on some items would be less painful.
A spokeswoman for the DGA, Emily Bittner, said she did not know how much it spent on the ad, but the Chafee campaign said records showed the group spent $185,000 for the week, which would make it the single largest ad buy of the election cycle.
There have been no reliable polls in the race, but Chafee and Caprio are the perceived front-runners in the race to succeed term-limited Republican Gov. Don Carcieri. Republican John Robitaille and Moderate Ken Block also are running but are not as well known or as well financed.
Chafee has the highest name recognition in the race. He is a former Republican U.S. senator who left the party in 1999, and his late father, John Chafee was a senator and governor.
Caprio is the best financed candidate, with $1.7 million in his campaign account as of the beginning of July, several times what Chafee had on hand for the same period.
A Republican has held the governor’s seat for 16 years.\
Tags: North America, Political Organizations, Political Parties, Providence, Rhode Island, United States