November 6, 2006

Rhode Island Statewide Ballot Question 3

Carroll Andrew Morse

In the comments section of the previous post, commenter “S. Weasel” asks…

I just looked over the ballot -- can somebody explain to me that third constitutional amendment? The one about the rainy day fund?
Gary Sasse of the Rhode Island Public Expenditures Council advocated for passage of Question 3 in a Projo op-ed from October 23…
When something works well, you either stick with it, or look for ways to make it even better. A dozen years ago, Rhode Island voters approved a constitutional amendment that significantly improved the state's fiscal management. This year voters have a chance to make a good thing even better by voting yes on Question 3.

Question 3 does three important things:

First, it lowers the percentage of state revenue that can be spent each year to 97 percent from the current 98 percent.

It raises the amount of money in the state Rainy Day Fund to 5 percent from 3 percent of state revenue.

Finally, it prevents dollars in the Rainy Day Fund that exceed 5 percent from being spent to pay for debt service.

Progressive Matthew Jerzyk, writing in the Providence Phoenix, also endorsed passage of question 3…
QUESTION 3 — This question could expand Rhode Island’s “rainy day” fund by allowing more tax dollars to be dedicated to the fund, providing a safety net against possible downturns in the state economy.

Both the Democratic General Assembly and Republican Governor Donald L. Carcieri support this measure, which was initiated by the business-backed Rhode Island Public Expenditure Council (RIPEC). An expanded rainy day fund is looked at kindly by bond rating agencies, and it could be an important tool to avoid social service cuts in an economic downturn.

So apparently we’ve got Carcieri, Jerzyk, RIPEC, and the state legislature all on the same side on this issue. Is there anyone anyone seriously against this measure?


Also, here is the index to Marc's guide to the bond issues that will be on Tuesday's ballot...

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Ah. Thank you. Sounds like a winner.

My first instinct when I see "constitutional amendment" is always "no" -- I'm pretty sure the guys who wrote the thing were cleverer than the mooks we have in now -- but this is apparently an amendment to amendment, making it more of what it was before.

Posted by: S. Weasel at November 6, 2006 12:38 PM

Has there been any discussion of Q2 here? I just got a strange phone call supporting it that claimed it was only for folks in jail for a "year or so", "no violent felons" included. Isn't that a flat out lie? Why frame the question as making it illegal to put polling places in the ACI, unless your intention is to confuse the unwitting?

Posted by: rhodeymark at November 6, 2006 1:26 PM
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