Talking Points: Taxes, Bikes, Beer, Oh My!

Find out what the candidates have to say on a number of topics


*UPDATE: Brett Smiley no longer running - supporting Jorge Elorza

Providence used to be called the "Renaissance City" under your leadership. If you’re elected, what would be our new nickname?
"What’s wrong with the Renaissance City? It’s emblematic of our identity as an inventive, creative and innovative American city. Don’t we need another renaissance?" Buddy Cianci

What’s your plan for attracting business to Providence?
"We’re going to rebuild trust in local government by being strong on ethics and transparency. Next, we’re going to build off of our strengths, like the Port of Providence, the arts and culture community, and the universities and hospitals. And last, we’re going to build in a way that is inclusive and engages the great diversity that exists in the city. We have so much to build off of and to be optimistic about." Jorge Elorza

How do we get universities to be more engaged with the city?
"We can stop nickel and diming them with PILOT programs and ask them to really partner with us to improve our school system and expand educational choices with charter schools. This plus means-tested vouchers would improve our educational system." Daniel Harrop

Providence residents are feeling over-taxed, but we all know the city is broke. Is there a solution? What is it?
"The solution is to cut costs and raise revenues. To propel efficiencies in government, expand Providence’s tax base, and use smart growth principles to maximize the utilization of the property within our city." Buddy Cianci

Now that we’ve got the major issue of the state appetizer out of the way, what should the state cocktail be?
"I’m a beer guy, and we’ve got great locally brewed beer here in Providence. Give me a Revival Saison and I’m good." Jorge Elorza

How do we improve public transportation?
"Invest in it. The state and city need to commit to a long-term plan for improving and investing in our infrastructure. We applied for federal funds for a streetcar this past spring. Other cities have catalyzed economic development by putting rails in the ground, because it shows a real commitment to public transit. The city should also continue to incorporate public transit into infrastructure investments. For example, bike share lanes have been striped along key roads as part of the $40 million bond repaving and the city has moved forward with plans for a bike share program." Michael Solomon

Many residents are unsatisfied with the expensive overnight parking situation. What’s your plan for improvement?
"Together we will create citywide overnight parking that is permit free for renters and property owners, more parking garages, and an office specifically incharge of new parking development." Chris Young

How do we generate more jobs in a city that’s notoriously unfriendly to small businesses?
"The first step is to get rid of the “know a guy” culture in City Hall. You shouldn’t have to know someone, or be related to someone, to get something done, and you certainly shouldn’t be treated like a nuisance rather than a customer when you walk in the door. And too often, when that record is finally pulled, it’s on an index card in a file cabinet rather than an easily accessible, publicly viewable electronic file. We need to automate more services so that people don’t have to take time out of their busy schedules to go down to City Hall in order to submit basic paperwork for their businesses. Buddy Cianci’s candidacy reminds us of the pay-to-play era for businesses in our past, and I’m fully committed to a City Hall that levels the playing field for all our residents and values honesty, transparency and integrity in the highest regard. it’s been a central theme throughout my entire campaign." Brett Smiley

What’s your stance on the 38 Studios bonds?
"I believe we should not repay the 38 Studios debt once criminal activity has been determined. If the bond rating agencies then dropped the state’s bond rating we could sue them for damages as well as those found criminally liable. The state will also have sovereign immunity from civil action." Chris Young

How do we reduce university “brain drain”?
"We build sustainable partnerships with the schools. This starts by implementing a mechanism that allows non-profits to grow without hurting property tax payers. I will aggressively push for the state to reimburse the city for a portion of income tax dollars garnered from new jobs at our non-profits. We should want them to expand, but first we have to make sure we can afford it." Michael Solomon

Do you see any way to cut the commercial, property or auto taxes?
"Bankruptcy will allow us to significantly cut our debt payments, including payments to the unjust pension system we now have (fireman retired on a near $200,000 pension!), which will bring down the tax rate over the next few years." Daniel Harrop