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Public Testimony - The Fair Share

In support of Rhode Island House Bill 5227. 

Systemic inequities have only worsened throughout this crisis, and we cannot return to the normalcy of indifference, which has allowed the poor to become poorer in this country, and in this state.

According to Crossroads Rhode Island, 118,367 very important Rhode Islanders lived in poverty in 2018, and this figure was pre-Covid-19. According to the RI Coalition for the homeless, a family paying an average rent of approximately $1,600 per month for a 2 bedroom apartment would have to earn over $66,000 to afford housing. We saw a 4.6 percent increase in homelessness in Rhode Island from 2019 to 2020, and one can only wonder what the data will show for the next 12 months.

Healthcare costs continue to rise, making it unmanageable for many working families to afford medications and resources. We’ve seen a 12% increase on unsubsidized health premium insurance rates since 2018, while Rhode Islanders currently face the threat that hospitals and insurers like Blue Cross and Blue Shield will send them bills for covid-19 treatment. Abusive tactics in the face of a widening vaccine equity gap, which is primarily impacting racialized and economically disadvantaged communities.

Economic conditions are worsening for Rhode Island’s working families, and any programs to address the growing needs of our struggling communities, will require funding to allocate to support programs that can help lift people out of dire circumstances.

Rhode Islanders deserve livable wages, free community healthcare, environmental and housing justice. We can get there, but to do so, it’s time for those who have had the privilege of earning over $475,000 a year, to pay their fair share of taxes, regardless of whether they are using passthroughs to pull in personal profits or in an attempt to avoid the double taxation of a c corp structure… so that Rhode Island can generate the revenues to fund the very programs that will house, educate, feed, and build up the next generation of working Rhode Islanders.

Lastly, I’d like to plug in that - It’s also time for Brown University to pay taxes, and for pollution generating industries to pay more taxes for the health harm done at the expense of their expanding infrastructure and growing profits.

It’s time for progress!

 

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