Everyone loves a good pun. They are hilarious and memorable. Ask anyone I work with, if I can have a pun in a headline I rave about it.
That's why I am not sure why the business group, Rhode Island Statewide Coalition (RISC) would give up such a great pun. The group had a newsletter, RISC-Y Business (get it?) and would put out legislative alerts on what they deemed to be anti-business legislation but now in a recent announcement they decided they will be changing their name to: Rhode Island Taxpayers. What's the pun in that?
In an instant the group once known for its pro-business politics has become just another taxpayers group. It seems every couple of months a new "taxpayers" group in RI springs up.
Does anyone remember OSPRI? No, you probably think I am talking about a bird, that's an OSPREY. Well, OSPRI, Ocean State Policy Research Institute, was a taxpayer group that went the way of the DODO.
And what about the Ocean state Tea Party in Action, the splinter group of the RI Tea Party, what action has the OSTPA taken? Well not too much it seems since their founder, Lisa Blais, has signed on as the official lobbyist of "RI Tax Payers." No word on what that means for OSTPA.
RISC or the newly formed "RI Tax Payers" has a message and a cause, but the rebranding seems like a swing and a miss. Rule number one in politics is name recognition, and by reinventing the wheel with a new name RISC is basically throwing away progress it has made establishing itself as a pro-business entity.
There is nothing "clever" about the name RI Taxpayers. There is nothing even catchy. It just blends in with the other "tax payer" groups.
At one time there was a "tax payers" group with strong momentum in Rhode Island: "The Rhode Island Tea Party." The group still exists today but truth is it suffered immensely when OSTPA splintered off and the group did away with the annual Tax Day Rally.
RISC had somehow managed to "outwit, outlast, and outplay" the other tax payer groups surviving over the years and not breaking off into splinter groups. Now with the new name and new players, including new president Moderate Party Chairman Ken Block, it seems more likely personalities will come into play and eventually lead to the end of the "RI Taxpayers." Remember what James Madison said about factions in the "Federalist Papers"? That factions could ultimately pose threats to the unions long term interests.
Factions in the taxpayers groups, as we have seen often in RI, have proven to be a threat to the groups' long term interests.
These "tax payer" groups need to find one name, one voice, and one group and stick with it. The constant name changes and splinter groups have made it virtually impossible for the average Rhode Islander (who has to worry about their own life) to keep track of.
The name change for RISC might mean game over for the group. Rebranding is a tough thing to do, just ask the Rhode Island Republican Party who has attempted this for the past few election cycles.
It would be a shame to see a group that has made significant progress gaining traction and notoriety over the years to end up like the groups 2010 gubernatorial candidate Frank Caprio: nowhere to be found.
Perhaps there is some deep seeded political reason for the rebranding and the group can overcome the initial struggle of the name change. Maybe the group has a brilliant marketing scheme in mind or a strategy that will not be affected by the changes. It is very possible the group has trick up its sleeve, but only time will tell.
Dee DeQuattro is the assignment desk manager and digital news coordinator for ABC6. She studied politics and communications and holds a master's degree from Providence College. Follow her on twitter @deedequattro and log on to ABC6 .com for her latest in depth coverage of politics and news.