Many states are doing better this year than at any point since the beginning of the recession five years ago. Unfortunately, Rhode Island isn’t one of them. State and local government finances are in a deep hole after years of profligate spending. The only question now is who’s going to pay the price.
Partisans of the Blue Model in Rhode Island have settled on a new target: Brown University. The Wall Street Journal reports that Providence mayor Angel Taveras has accused tax-exempt nonprofits, especially Brown, of a “failure to sacrifice”, demanding that they effectively double voluntary payments to the city over the next ten years.
Brown has tentatively agreed to begin paying more, but this episode may mark the beginning of a civil war pitting the state’s Blue politicians against one of the Blue Model’s strongest institutional and intellectual supporters. Liberal academics at Brown may be all for raising taxes to pay public workers’ salaries, but the university’s endowment is still reeling from the deep hit it took at the beginning of the recession. The old alliance is looking a lot more tenuous.
King Henry VIII, meet the monasteries.