PAYING FOR IT: Angel Taveras is the only Democrat running for governor who lists government spending cuts among the ways he would fund his spending priorities.
PBN PHOTO/MICHAEL SALERNO
EXPERIENCED HAND: Providence Mayor Angel Taveras points to his three-and-a-half-year record in Providence for evidence of how will effectively lead the state if elected as governor. “I have experience actually executing this on a local level,” Taveras said.
PBN PHOTO/MICHAEL SALERNO
SMOOTH RIDE: Similar to those of his Democratic primary opponents, Angel Taveras’ infrastructure plan is tailored to local projects such as the streetcar, rather than major state highway repairs.
(Editor’s note: This is the fourth in a series of articles focused on the 2014 gubernatorial candidates and their plans for economic development.)
At 43 years old and with one term as an elected official under his belt, Providence Mayor Angel Taveras might be an unlikely candidate to campaign on experience.
But in a Democratic gubernatorial primary field that includes among major candidates a one-term treasurer and political neophyte in his first bid for public office, Taveras’ backers believe his experience running Providence stands out.
In explaining his economic platform for the state, Taveras returns on most points to his three-and-a-half-year record in Providence for evidence of how he will carry out priorities he shares with his opponents better than they will.
“I have experience actually executing this on a local level,” Taveras said in a recent interview at Providence Business News on his economic plan, “whether it be the infrastructure bond we approved in Providence with support from 89 percent of voters, or putting permitting online and consolidating planning and development.”
And Taveras also takes on his primary opponents, especially General Treasurer Gina M. Raimondo, for not being specific enough about what they would do if elected, or how they would pay for it.
“I have details, and I at least attempt to explain how I would pay for them,” Taveras said. “Being a chief executive, I know the challenge of executing a lot of great ideas is how you make it happen. At the very least, as candidates we owe it to the public to at least give estimates.”
So what would Taveras do to improve Rhode Island’s sluggish economy if elected, and how much would it cost?
The lack of dollar estimates in Raimondo’s plan makes direct comparisons difficult, but Taveras’ plan appears more aggressive on total spending and comes out similar to the plan put out by Clay Pell.
The Taveras education, workforce-training and tourism proposals alone would add $32 million annually to the budget by the end of his first term. Annual debt service on a $100 million infrastructure bond would be about $8 million, though some of that would be offset from the interest paid by municipalities borrowing the money.