Last week, after a nearly month-long impasse, Rhode Island Democrats passed a budget funding what the media referred to as a “face-saving slice” of Democrat Governor Gina Raimondo’s signature college tuition proposal. They gutted her original plan to a third of its intended funding while offering it only at the community college level, not at any of the state’s public four-year universities as Raimondo proposed. Nevertheless, Raimondo has tried to tout her setback as a victory, hailing the passage of “free” community college in Rhode Island. The only problem: she herself said it “isn’t really free."
In June, while speaking at an event with the New York Times, Raimondo admitted her proposal “isn’t really free,” and said that she was “convinced to go for that because – to capture people’s attention.” But that wasn’t the only time Raimondo pushed back on the idea that her own plan was free. Video of Raimondo describing her tuition plan at an event with DNC Chair Tom Perez in April shows her saying “the people of Rhode Island don’t want something for free,” and “nobody wants a handout:”
This raises one question for Raimondo: if her tuition plan “isn’t really free,” why is she trying to present it that way to the public?