“Rhode Islanders don’t know how they are going to keep putting food on the table, yet our elected officials are nowhere to be found.”
Democratic candidate for State Representative Nicholas Delmenico (District 27 – West Warwick, Coventry, Warwick) called on State House leaders to immediately reconvene the General Assembly in order to pass legislation that provides relief to families throughout Rhode Island.
“We are in the middle of an unprecedented crisis,” said Delmenico. “Rhode Islanders don’t know how they are going to keep putting food on the table, yet our elected officials are nowhere to be found.”
The General Assembly, which has not met for nearly two weeks, is required to borrow and appropriate funds necessary to combat the crisis, as well as exempt crucial state agencies from their restrictive full-time employee equivalent caps. “Legislative bodies across the United States, from states like Utah and Pennsylvania, as well as the Providence City Council have figured this out. Why can’t we?” continued Delmenico. “It’s time for remote sessions.”
Delmenico called on the General Assembly to immediately supplement its cash flow and then redirect that cash flow to working families, referencing the Rhode Island Political Cooperative’s agenda to guarantee healthcare, housing, food, and income to all Rhode Islanders for the duration of the public health crisis. “We need a moratorium on evictions and foreclosures. We need to strengthen unemployment insurance and paid sick leave. We need free testing and treatment. But most of all, we need leadership,” said Delmenico.
Instead of addressing the logistics of remote sessions now, State House leaders have instead decided to engage in an unconstitutional process to convene the Emergency Disaster Relief Board. “This Board clearly violates the 2004 Separation of Powers amendment to the State Constitution,” said Delmenico. “We need to convene the full House and Senate in order to begin the necessary process of borrowing funds for crucial programs – before our cash flow runs out.”
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While a Tax Anticipation Note may help supplement the state’s depleting cash flow through the end of June, Delmenico also supports issuing a revenue bond to address the crisis. “We need cash fast, but we also need to prioritize beneficial interest rates. Rolling a Tax Anticipation Note into a Revenue Bond or forgoing a TAN entirely are options the General Assembly and Treasurer need to consider.”