Providence is recovering. We repeat, Providence is recovering. At least, that’s what Mayor Angel Taveras said multiple times in his State of the City address last Tuesday, and he’s got the numbers to prove it. Providence shrunk its $110 million structural deficit to a mere $4 million in just two years, with the help of a revamped pension plan and other spending cuts. Taveras thanked Johnson & Wales University for being the first tax-exempt institution to respond to his call for increased contributions to the city. There was also some love for Brown, which upped its commitment by $31.5 million over the next 11 years.
Is sugar the new tea? (Think 1773.) RI state legislators recently introduced a House bill that would tax sugar- and corn-syrup-sweetened drinks at $1.28 per gallon. The tax would apply to any “sugar-sweetened beverage, syrup, powder or other base product” sold in Rhode Island, including “soft drinks, sodas, sports drinks or energy drinks,” according to the text of the bill. (Base product? Does that mean any sweet thing that can be dissolved in water will be taxed?) Mixers are about to get a lot more expensive, (as is your 5 p.m. Monster Energy fix, though you might be wary of drinking those anyway). But don’t worry just yet, the “Center for Consumer Freedom” called the tax “misguided” in the ProJo.
Un-American wind. On Thursday, strong winds brought down the American flag on top of the State House. The wind was clearly a plot to blow away flags, umbrellas, and freshly-printed problem sets across the city – part of a larger scale conspiracy bent on destroying the fabric (get it, fabric?) of American lives.