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He's the only candidate in the race for Rhode Island governor who has been in a position to raise taxes. So it's not surprising that Allan Fung, the Republican mayor of Cranston, has come under attack for -- wait for it -- raising taxes.
A new ad titled "Allan Fung - An Insider's Insider" by the American LeadHERship PAC, a political action committee that is focused on electing Democrat Gina Raimondo, asks, "What do we really know about Allan Fung?" The ad calls him "a career politician" and says, "as mayor, he raised taxes three times."
Fung became mayor in 2009. He has repeatedly acknowledged that he raised taxes three times during his six years in office.
But he also inherited a huge pension problem, a budget that had $1.5 million in phony savings, and a school committee that had spent about $8 million it didn't have. His first year in office was marked by a massive cut in state aid that rocked cities and towns.
And, with the Great Recession in full swing, it didn't get easier for him or other mayors. For example, early in his term, general revenue sharing, where the state gave about $55 million from sales and income taxes to municipalities, was eliminated.
But he and the city ultimately stabilized the budget and during the last three of his six years in office, the city has not raised taxes.
In the end, the statement in the American LeadHERship commercial is accurate. But because it leaves out the important context of the three most-recent years in which he did not raise taxes, we rate it Mostly True.
YouTube.com, "Allan Fung - An Insider's Insider," LeadHERship Pac channel, dated and accessed Oct. 8, 2014
ProvidenceJournal.com, "Cranston City Council unanimously approves Mayor Fung's pension plan," April 23, 2013; "Cranston’s pension overhaul will save city millions, but court challenge remains," Feb. 8, 2014 and "Outsider Block assails GOP primary opponent Fung as ‘insider politician’ in RI governor’s race," Aug. 18, 2014
The Providence Journal, "Cranston mayor sees built-in budget ills," March 2, 2009; "Council offers no honeymoon for Cranston mayor," July 19, 2009; "High court backs Cranston in battle over school budget," Dec. 15, 2009; "Mayors say they weren’t warned of cuts in state aid," Dec. 20, 2009; "City seen on track to balance its budget," Jan. 7, 2010, and "Mayor tells retired police and firefighters city wants to drop COLA payments for 10 years," Sept. 14, 2012
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