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The calendar barely turned from spring to summer, but the climate surely began heating up in Rhode Island’s very competitive Democratic primary for governor. A television as by Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea, among the gubernatorial candidates, generated some quick retorts from Gov. Dan McKee and Helena Buonanno Foulkes, another of the gubernatorial candidates.

Nellie Gorbea Launches First Television Ad 

Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea, a Democratic gubernatorial candidate, just launched her first TV ad, promising higher taxes on corporations to help fix Rhode Island’s housing crisis, expand pre-kindergarten programs, and strengthen local business. 

Helena Buonanno Foulks, another of the Democratic gubernatorial candidates, and Republican gubernatorial candidate Ashley Kalus, have been running television ads for several weeks.

“For 30 years, I’ve worked with and served the people of Rhode Island to make their lives better,” Gorbea says in the ad. “I’ve worked my entire career with the goal of putting people first whether I was in the non-profit, public, or for-profit sectors. What sets my candidacy for Governor apart from others is that my dedication to our community has proven results.” She goes on to say she has plans to fix the housing crisis, expand pre-k programs, and support local businesses. She also promises to raise taxes for large corporations.

Foulkes Says the Nellie Tax will Hurt Small Businesses

Helena Buonanno Foulkes, a Democratic gubernatorial candidate, was quick to respond to Gorbea’s ad.

“In her new TV ad, Secretary Gorbea tells Rhode Islanders that she wants to raise taxes on big corporations, but the devil is in the details of her plan,” Foulkes says. “The truth is that the Nellie Tax will affect thousands of businesses, including small businesses in our state—businesses like Big Blue Bug Solutions, Iggy’s, Chelo’s, Gregg’s and Del’s. Our small businesses were devastated by the pandemic and are struggling to make ends meet due to the inflation crisis. Small businesses deserve better than the Nellie Tax.” 

Governor McKee’s says Gorbea’s plan would take Rhode Island backwards

Governor Dan McKee’s campaign manager Brexton Isaacs says “Governor McKee has a plan that doesn’t slow our economy with higher taxes as we recover from the pandemic — Rhode Island is a national leader in economic recovery. He has worked to invest a historic $250 million to begin to address the housing crisis and he supports expanding pre-k — but he knows it’s not going to get done through empty promises in TV commercials.

“Secretary Gorbea’s plan would put our progress in reverse and her numbers simply don’t add up,” Isaacs says. “Telling voters that her tax increase gimmick would both cover universal pre-k and ‘fix the housing crisis’ is an insult to the people of Rhode Island. Either she doesn’t know the numbers or she’s knowingly misleading voters. This is irresponsible grandstanding, not real policy ideas. 

“Being Governor is a serious job and Rhode Islanders don’t have time for unserious proposals and empty promises. Secretary Gorbea’s tax increase gimmick would make Rhode Island less economically competitive and even the rosiest revenue estimates don’t meet the costs of her plans. That’s the difference between empty promises and a Governor who’s doing the work and actually delivering for people.”

More on Gorbea’s Housing Plan 

Today Gorbea released an in-depth housing policy plan that she says acknowledges the housing challenges Rhode Island faces and points to innovative solutions her administration will take. 

“Housing affects all areas of life– education, employment opportunities, public health, and our economy,” Gorbea says. “This is why addressing housing is my number one priority. This policy shows Rhode Islanders exactly how I intend to fix this crisis, starting on day one. I pledge to be the Housing Governor that Rhode Island has long deserved.”

Her policy includes: 

  • Doubling annual production of new homes in all parts of the state, at prices affordable to all Rhode Islanders
  • Creating a Secretary of Housing and Community Development
  • Doubling our commitment to affordable housing with a $130 million housing bond measure 
  • Incentivizing cities and towns so that they reach the 10% affordable housing threshold
  • Making homeownership possible to more Rhode Islanders 
  • Rehabilitating aging housing stock and incentivizing redevelopment of underutilized properties across the state 
  • Reducing the number of Rhode Islanders experiencing homelessness through a multi-pronged strategy
  • Reducing barriers to building homes in Rhode Island

The policy also outlines revenue sources and explains how the administration will pay for new programs. To view the her full housing police visit https://nelliegorbea.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/NGG22_011_Housing-Policy-Update_6_23.pdf

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