September 20, 2019

Rhode Island

Rhode Island Is Still Holding a Grudge Against Deloitte

A better title might be, “Rhode Island Tells Feds to Send All Fines Related to State’s Shitty Benefits Computer System to Deloitte.” From the Associated Press: The federal government is fining Rhode Island about $2 million for problems with the state’s benefits system. WPRI-TV reports the problems stem from the botched rollout of a computer system for […]

Rhode Island Believes In Second Chances, Even for Deloitte

Back in January 2017, Caleb made mention that Rhode Island was pissed at Deloitte because, when the state rolled out a new computer system in September 2016 that the firm designed, it had more bugs in it than a Florida swamp. The computer system—known as the Unified Health Infrastructure Project (UHIP)—was supposed to streamline benefits, […]

If You’ve Got a Better Solution to Rhode Island’s Budget Crisis, Governor Lincoln Chafee Is All Ears

Over at Tax.com, David Brunori calls Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee’s latest state sales tax proposal “awful.” You see, Governor Chafee wants to levy a tax on goods and services sold by Ocean State businesses. Examples of previous tax-exempt services include “data processing, landscaping, taxi fares, garbage collection, auto repairs and tickets to theaters and sporting events,” while it would also tax goods such as “agricultural products, boats, clothing, manufacturing machinery.”

Brunori writes that this idea is horrendous because it not only, “violates every notion of sound sales tax policy,” but because the Rhode Island rubes won’t even realize that the tax is ultimately being passed on to them:

In general, businesses should not pay sales tax on their purchases. When they do, the tax is passed on to consumers in the form of higher prices. The tax is often included in the final purchase price and taxed again. The funny thing is that citizens do not know they are being secretly taxed. Everyone knows this.

So wait…do the citizens know they are being taxed or does “everyone” simply mean tax policy wonks? Putting our confusion aside for a second, Governor Chafee has defied the haters like Brunori and Rhode Island businesses, standing by his proposal. But if you’ve got a better idea, he’s more than happy to hear your out:

Chafee said it’s up to his critics to suggest a better option. “Crisis calls for leadership,” Chafee, an independent, said at an impromptu press conference called after the rally. “If you don’t like my proposal, what’s the alternative? No politician likes to raise taxes. … We’re waiting for a better idea.”

Terrible Tax Idea of the Week [Tax.com]
Chafee firm as business groups protest tax plan [Tto10]

John Kerry Is Paying the Taxes on His Yacht, Would Appreciate It if Everyone Changed the Subject

Talk about wearing the guy thin.

Moral of the story? Call for an investigation of a wealthy guy – a wealthy Senator – with a wealthier wife and he’ll gladly cut a check to get you to shut the hell up.

John Kerry May Be Having Buyer’s Remorse re: $7 Million Yacht

Because people keep asking about it.


If pesky Boston reporters weren’t enough, the Wall St. Journal’s report is taking this to new hyperbolic levels with the headline: “John Kerry – A One-Man ‘Benedict Arnold’ Corporation”:

[T]here’s a smell of hypocrisy. In addition to sailing around the tax issue, Mr. Kerry chose to build his boat in New Zealand at a time when Bay State boat builders are having trouble keeping their work force employed. “I’m confident that anything constructed in New Zealand could be constructed here in the state,” Gregory Egan, who owns the Crosby Yacht Yard in Osterville, told the Boston Herald. Others noted that the Isabel was specially designed to be piloted without a crew — letting Mr. Kerry scrimp on employment costs and payroll taxes.

Jesus. A rich senator, married to a ketchup heiress, buys an expensive boat, does some not-so-fancy tax avoidance and all of a sudden he’s equated to, arguably, the most notorious traitor in the history of the United States? Yeah, that’s pretty much the same thing.

John Kerry – A One-Man ‘Benedict Arnold’ Corporation [WSJ]
Sen. Kerry Sails Around the Tax Issue [TaxProf Blog]

Earlier: John Kerry Saves $500k in Taxes By Dropping Anchor in Rhode Island

UPDATE: JK’s spokeswoman has said he will pay the tax if Mass. determines that he owes it.

John Kerry Saves $500k in Taxes By Dropping Anchor in Rhode Island

Don’t any of you get the idea that John Kerry is docking his new $7 million yacht in Rhode Island to navigate around Massachusetts’ sales tax and the annual excise tax. That would be, in a word, ludicrous.


“Kerry spokesman David Wade said Friday the boat is being kept at Newport Shipyard not to evade taxes, but ‘for long-term maintenance, upkeep and charter purposes.’ ”

And Rhode Island is the Ocean State, so it makes perfect sense. “Isabel” is a 76′ beaut that has “two cabins, a pilot house fitted with a wet bar and cold wine storage.” A pretty swell ride.

It’s difficult to say why the Mass. Senator wouldn’t park the vessel near home base but we’d be willing to hear some theories.

Mass. Sen. Kerry docks yacht in RI, saving $500K [AP]
Sen. John Kerry skips town on sails tax [Boston Herald via TaxProf]

For Everyone in North Jersey, Mass and Rhode Island That Squandered the Last Four Weeks Away, Your Tax Deadline Is Tomorrow

If you were (un)lucky enough to live in one of the flood ravaged counties in North Jersey, Mass, or the entire Ocean State, hopefully you remembered that your extended period of procrastination ends tomorrow.


Yes, unfortunately the last four weeks have flown by and we’re sure that some of you have managed to piss away this time not preparing your tax return. Do yourself a favor and file the extension. You’re hopeless.

Relax, here’s the form.

It Literally Took an Act of God* for the IRS to Do Something Nice

There’s a slew of “reasons” that people have for hating on the Internal Revenue Service. They’re responsible for discourse on television, they don’t observe Shabbos, perverts (alleged!), etc.But every now and again the IRS gives you a reason to say, “well, that’s nice of them,” even if it takes rainfall that makes you consider cobbling an ark together and rounding up the animals in the neighborhood.


The Service is not unreasonable. Apologetic? Never. But not unreasonable. Accordingly, if you live in eastern Massachusetts or Rhode Island the IRS took notice of the rising waters and is extending the April 15th deadline to May 11th (?).

It’s unlikely that this will garner much favor with the IRS haters outside of the Northeast but at least the Service won’t have to ignore the flood of calls from Bay State and Ocean State residents about whether they’ll still be expected file on time. Grab a bucket.

IRS will delay April 15 deadline for many in Mass. [Boston Globe]
Flood weary Rhode Islanders get tax extension [AP via Globe]

*For the militant atheists – Calm down, wouldja? It’s a religious week. Just sub “Nature” and move on.