May 23, 2008

Williamson Pulls Back the Curtain

Justin Katz

Timothy Williamson (D-West Warwick) — one of the two RI House members to vote against a legislator copay — let slip some of the behind-the-scenes politics:

"Don't start clapping yourself on the back too hard, you may break your hand," Williamson said. "The Senate is already telling you they are not going to pass this. So if they are not going to pass it, let's put the heat on them...Let's amend it. Let's get rid of the salaries. Let's get rid of the benefits. Tell the people of Rhode Island we're serving them: not for money and not for health insurance. Anybody with me?"

"Wow," he said after a few seconds. "Silence is deafening."

Somewhere, somebody in the legislature decided that members of the Senate could take a political hit more readily than members of the House, so the House is free to pass this reform-minded measure under full assurance that it will never actually become law. (Wouldn't it be neat if the governor had some means of anti-vetoing bills that pass one house of the General Assembly by a supermajority, thereby scuttling this sort of show?)

Here's some context on the money that the Senate is saving legislators:

At today's rates, paying 10 percent for the full package would cost $48.59 monthly for an individual plan, $135 for family coverage.

That is not as much as the average Rhode Island employee pays, according to a 2007 national survey by the United Benefit Advisors — an alliance of 142 employee-benefit companies. Among the key findings: the average Rhode Island employee contributes 28.8 percent of the premium cost for individual coverage, which equates to $118 monthly, and 40.4 percent — $397 monthly — for a family plan.

This, however, may be the award winner for legislator spit in the taxpayer eye:

... 15 [House members] are slated to receive $2,002 waiver payments in December including four who have pledged to return a 10-percent slice

Yeah, umm, that's not really how copays work for the rest of us.

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Those 15 house members are thieves,particularly in the face of a budgetary crisis.I wonder how many of them are Jerzyk approved "progressives"?

Posted by: joe bernstein at May 23, 2008 10:23 AM

There's nothing progressive about Williamson, that's for sure (although I'll admit if I ever got into a barroom brawl, I'd rather have him with me than against me).

Posted by: rhody at May 23, 2008 11:00 AM

If you can read between the lines, we heard on the Dan Yorke show exactly why Timmy the thug voted against this. He knew it was going to pass, and it is a Republican delegation idea, and he didn't want to give them the satisfaction of his vote on something that was their idea. That's who he's referring to with is "Don't start clapping yourself on the back..." comment.

And San Bento is just an arrogant idiot. I found it quite telling that when WPRO heard it was Timmy and San Bento who voted against, there was not even a whisper of getting San Bento on the air. It's pretty well known that the guy is a stump.

Posted by: L. E. Fant at May 23, 2008 12:55 PM

... shouldn't Williamson have evaluated and then supported or opposed the bill on its own merits as opposed to who was the impetus behind it?

Posted by: Monique at May 23, 2008 9:22 PM


This is an issue that we can NOT let go of.

EVERY time we have an opportunity to speak to a Rep or Senator, we need to put them on the spot over this issue.

And 10% is NOT nearly enough. They should be contributing at least 25%.

Anyone that does not aggressively support this issue should be called out over and over and over again.

Not until the General Assembly begins paying their fair share will the Union State & Municipal employees begin to pay their fair share.

Lastly, it should be noted that Gov. Carcieri takes the $2,002 Buy-back. This is one of the reasons why he is not nearly as effective as he should / could be. Just like his Pension reform when he didn't include judges. He always leaves the other side something to hang their hats on. I'm beggining to think it is by design, as used to think he was just naive and not politically savvy.

Posted by: George Elbow at May 23, 2008 11:22 PM

George, you hit it right on the head. It's similar to how Carcieri's criticism of unions would seem much more credible if he wasn't constantly creating higher-paying jobs for his cronies. Hasn't he figured why he gets the response "Steve Kass" as often as he does?

Posted by: rhody at May 24, 2008 1:13 AM

I have always thought that


Posted by: Citizen Critic at May 25, 2008 3:19 AM
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