Criticism Mounts Against Congressional Candidate Sabina Matos Over Controversial Tax Deal
Prominent union-endorsed congressional candidate Sabina Matos is facing scrutiny from fellow Democratic primary contenders regarding her alleged involvement in a tax break issue during her tenure as the president of the Providence City Council. The tax break, amounting to a total of $42.5 million over 30 years, was granted to downtown developer Arnold “Buff” Chace’s properties under the previous administration of Mayor Jorge Elorza. Matos, who left the Council for the lieutenant governor’s office before the court-approved settlement, is now being questioned by opponents Ana Quezada and Aaron Regunberg regarding her oversight and the potential impact on taxpayers.
Opponents Quezada and Regunberg are raising concerns about Matos’s role in the tax break issue, as the deal did not receive Council approval or involve Rhode Island Housing, as revealed in a report by the city auditor. They argue that Matos, as the Council president at the time, could have played a more active role in preventing the deal from being finalized.
Quezada, in an email statement, emphasized the responsibility of City Council members to protect the city’s financial well-being and act as a check on the mayor’s decisions. She expressed disappointment that the Council, under Matos’s leadership, failed to fulfill these duties and remained silent while Mayor Elorza negotiated a deal that benefited a wealthy developer who already receives tax relief.
Evan England, spokesperson for Matos’s campaign, refuted Quezada’s claims, stating that Matos had no involvement in the Chace settlement as she had already left the Council two months prior to its approval. England clarified that Matos was only aware of the developer’s request for tax relief but had no knowledge of the final arrangements that resulted from subsequent negotiations.
Regarding Matos’s stance on the Council’s efforts to terminate or recover the tax savings, England declined to comment. Regunberg, without directly mentioning Matos, criticized past officials for their lack of oversight, arguing that such failures contribute to the ongoing affordable housing crisis faced by Rhode Islanders.
While Matos distances herself from the Chace deal due to her departure from the Council, her primary rival in the 1st District, John Goncalves, has expressed support for reclaiming the entire $42 million tax break. Goncalves, who assumed office in 2020, claimed to be unaware of the tax agreement until after it was completed and emphasized the importance of fairness. He believes it is unjust for a wealthy developer to pay lower property taxes while working families bear increased financial burdens.
In conclusion, as the race for Congress in the 1st District intensifies, concerns surrounding the Controversial Tax Deal Raises Concerns for Congressional Candidate Matos persist, with criticism from primary rivals Ana Quezada and Aaron Regunberg regarding her oversight of the tax deal. Matos maintains that she had no involvement in the final arrangements, but questions about taxpayer interests and affordable housing continue to be raised by her opponents. Matos’s position on the current efforts to recover the tax savings remains undisclosed, leaving room for further examination and discussion in the congressional race.