The most homespun moment in Governor Chafee’s Tuesday night budget address was probably when he gave a shoutout to his barber, Providence’s Ernie Persechino, as a way of defending the big sales tax overhaul. Here’s Chafee:
I want to say a word about how this budget will affect Rhode Islanders. My barber Ernie will now have to charge a sales tax that will cut into his tips. But he is willing to bear his part of the burden if we live up to our responsibilities in this chamber. If we spend taxpayer funds with discipline, so that our economy recovers and our people are well served, then these sacrifices will have met their purpose. My goal over the long term is to reduce our taxes to be more competitive, and so I want to ask all of you to pledge with me that we will commit to lower taxes as soon as the economy improves.
Naturally, that got our attention here at WPRI – we wanted to hear Ernie’s thoughts straight from the horse’s mouth. So my colleague Sean Daly tracked Ernie down in his barbershop and filed this story: