The spirit of freedom is alive and well in local politics in Rhode Island.  Tired of being blackmailed into paying higher taxes because of the threat of a lawsuit from another governmental body, Woonsocket producers say, Sue us:

Faced with a heavy outpouring of opposition from property owners, the City Council last night narrowly defeated a supplemental tax bill to wipe out a School Department deficit of $3.7 million.

The vote paves the way for the School Committee to file a lawsuit against the city under the Caruolo Act, a move advocates of the supplemental tax bill contend will only deepen the School Department’s — and the city’s — financial problems. Caruolo gives school departments the power to file suit in Superior Court to compel their municipal counterparts to provide revenue to wipe out operating deficits, and the School Committee had vowed to vote in favor of such an action no later than tomorrow if the council balked at supplemental taxes.

After some five hours of discussion, at just about midnight, the council did just that, voting 4-3 against the measure. In the end, it was Councilwoman Suzanne Vadenais who tipped the balance. Early in the evening, she indicated a reluctant willingness to support supplemental taxes, but by the end of the night she had changed her mind.

How much would it have cost taxpayers?

…The measure would have given the city authority to hike all classes of taxes — residential, business and business equipment — about 10 percent. The average homeowner would have paid roughly an extra $231 this fiscal year.

Though the hike would have been about the same on small businesses percentage-wise, they would have paid significantly more since they are already taxed at a higher rate.

Enough is enough:

Before the vote, dozens of residents and business owners weighed in on the supplemental tax hike, many of them expressing anger and frustration at the fast-growing cost of local government. Some urged members of the City Council to find more spending cuts in order to avoid worsening the burden on property owners, while others challenged the council let the School Committee sue the city and fight the Caruolo Act in court – advice the council apparently took to heart.

“I challenge you to vote no to the supplemental tax,” said city resident Jim Hoyle. “We can’t afford it. Challenge the Caruolo Act. We feel like we’re being held hostage by the School Committee with this act.”

Michelle Malkin puts the potential of the Tea Party spirit in a nutshell:

It’s not just about protesting in the streets. It’s about demanding accountability from your government at all levels — and getting it.

H/T TaxDayTeaParty