Getting elected is the easy part, governing the state is hard

This week starts PBN’s series of gubernatorial candidate profiles. The collection of stories will include a Q&A format interview, as well as a sidebar that illuminates where the candidates stand on specific issues.

Cranston Mayor Allan W. Fung is the subject of the first interview, and the issue story is about taxes and just how the state could go about lowering them.

While few argue that taxes should not be lowered, with the sole exception seeming to be Democratic challenger Matt Brown, a former secretary of state in Rhode Island, no one gives many specifics in terms of how to pay for the reductions in tax revenue. And that is a big problem.

Campaigning is a relatively easy thing to do – find a slogan that resonates and ride it into office.

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But governing is the art of attending to the details. Just ask Gov. Gina M. Raimondo, whose successes on attracting companies to Rhode Island often have been overshadowed by the ongoing Unified Health Infrastructure Project debacle and other things. Details really matter.

So when Mayor Fung says that he wants the state’s sales tax to drop to 5 percent over four years, he vaguely says that he would cut economic-development programs that Gov. Raimondo put in place. Ditto the other candidates who want to lower taxes. Mr. Brown actually wants to rescind previous tax cuts, although it is not clear that he has an economic-development policy in mind, either.

As the political season gets serious, all voters should demand details from the candidates, details that will help them decide who is the best candidate to lead the state.