September 13, 2008

Katherine Gregg, Conspirator

Justin Katz

It may be that it doesn't come across as often as it should, but I'm as disappointed as anybody that Governor Carcieri seems often not to understand the image that he must present to counter the break-and-blame strategy that the Democrats have woven into the governance of Rhode Island. If actions of the General Assembly impeded him from meeting his budget, he should have taken whatever proclaimedly draconian steps were necessary and offered the clear cause/effect argument. But oh how I wish that we could rely on our front-page-caliber journalists not to be as complicit in the conspiracy as the politicians.

The latest indicator of the problem comes with Katherine Gregg's attempted zinger at the end of a front page "news" report for which she apparently fabricated an entire (shall we say) journalistic act by leading House Majority Leader Gordon Fox (D, Providence) toward her chosen topic:

[Gubernatorial spokeswoman Amy Kempe] did not mention as a contributing factor [to executive overspending] the governor’s hiring of a second out-of-state lawyer, James Bopp, at a cost of $15,000 to file a legal brief here in a same-sex marriage case.

Apparently, Gregg didn't have time to find somebody else in whose mouth to put her riposte. And apparently, the Providence Journal didn't have space to list every single budgetary line item that Ms. Kempe "did not mention."

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By Katherine Gregg;
PROVIDENCE — General Assembly leaders are planning to hold oversight hearings in the next few weeks to determine how the State of Rhode Island ended the 2007-08 budget year, days after they went home, with a $33.6- million deficit.
They include the Department of Human Services (overspent by $18.6 million), the Department of Mental Health Retardation and Hospitals ($7.8 million), the Department of Corrections ($3.2 million) and the governor’s office ($184,152), according to a preliminary closing statement issued by the state controller Marc Leonetti on Aug. 29 that The Journal obtained from the House fiscal office this week.

OK, so that totals 29.8 million of a $33.6- million deficit, do we not need to know where the rest was overspent?

Posted by: bobc at September 13, 2008 3:29 PM

If the Don has any sense will use this issue to his advantage.

On Monday morning, he should fire those department heads who were responsible for going over budget. Friend or foe, they should be held accountable and fired. $33 million in this economy is no small matter.

Then, on Tuesday morning, he should start laying off as many Council 94 "workers" and other Union hacks as is necessary to meet the budgeted savings target that would have otherwise been achieved had the Union hacks begun paying THEIR fair share of THEIR health-care.

While he is at it, he should say that the poverty pimps and the Unions were right, and therefore reverse / cancel his executive order regarding illegal aliens. Then, to the extent need, refill the Union hack positions with low cost illegal alien employees.

What's Donny-do-nothing waiting for? Stop fiddling while Rome burns. Off with their f'ing heads.

By the way - did you see where Cumberland's Mayor McKee (he of Mayoral Academies fame) crushed his challenger, Iwuc, despite the best efforts of interference by Bob Walsh's NEA-RI, which sent letters and money in support of Iwuc. Poor Bob seems people are finally waking up to his tired act. The message was clear ...they voted for McKee 'cuz unlike Bob, they were "Doing it for the Children".

Posted by: George Elbow at September 13, 2008 9:41 PM

It should be noted that the Governor has not "done nothing". For the next budget, in addition to recommending (the Governor proposes; the G.A. disposes) level funding to cities and towns, Governor Carcieri has requested that all departments under his control cut their budgets by 8%. This is presumably 8% of their original budget, not 8% of any budgets inflated without authorization.

Having said that, I second all of George E's proposals. Any taxpayers unable to communicate with our new state employees should be directed to file a complaint with the Lieutenant Governor.

Posted by: Monique at September 13, 2008 11:42 PM

Maybe the do nothing governor should take a page out of Laffey's book. After running up large legal expenses with mostly mixed results in Cranston, he raised taxes.

Posted by: Phil at September 14, 2008 6:51 AM


We can only hope that Laffey throws his hat into the ring for Gov.

We need someone like him that has the energy, backbone and brains to stand up and clearly explain to the public the screwing they are getting from the Unions ...just like he did when he exposed the insanity of the Crossing Guards.

That is the one area that The Don falls most short. He has failed to clearly articulate and demonstrate with real examples of how out of whack the Union pay & benefits are compared to the average taxpayer.

For example, the Teachers' Union is expert at misleading the public with respect to their nut-bag contracts. How often have you seen headlines from a compliant and incompetant press that states "Contract settled for 3% salary increases", when in fact, ONLY the Top Step teachers receive 3% salary increases, while every other Step enjoys annual salary increases ranging from 7% to 18% (or more).

Someone like Laffey will not let that happen. He'll go after that BS and clearly explain why change is needed.

Lastly Phil, you seem to imply that the answer is to simply raise taxes. Are taxes not high enough? RI is already amongst the top 5 highest taxed states in the nation.

Isn't the better answer to tell the Unions "No F'ing More"?

Isn't it better to tell the Unions that they are now going to have to start paying their fair share of their healthcare, else face layoff?

Isn't it better to tell Union teachers whose average salary exceeds the entire income of most RI households that, in addition to having to start paying their fair share of their healthcare, they will have to wait until the 15th Step (as opposed to the 10th Step) before they make the private sector equivalent of $103,000+ per year?

Isn't it better to tell Union hacks like Providence Fire Department Union Pwesident Lazy-Ass Pauly "No Show" Doughty that "your fired" the next time he sits home on his lazy ass, failing to show up to the job he was paid to do?

Isn't it better to pass legislation requiring everyone (including the General Assembly) to pay at least 25% of the cost of any Taxpayer funded healthcare benefits they recieve?

Isn't it better to implement Pension Reform, either moving employees to 401k style plans so that they share in the market Risk or drastically reduce the Risk-Free benefits currently received under their Defined Benefit plans?

Yes Phil, there are many common sense things that should be done BEFORE we raise taxes. Wouldn't you agree?

Posted by: George Elbow at September 14, 2008 8:57 AM

Those who wonder how Rhode Islanders keep re-electing the same politicians that run this state into the ground, need look no further than the stupidity of people like Phil. I guess spending $1 to save $10 doesn't make sense to morons like Phil. If Phil had any clue what he was talking about, he would know that Laffey saved far more than was spent on legal expenses.
Maybe Phil could tell us what union he belongs to.

Posted by: Mike Cappelli at September 14, 2008 12:15 PM



Posted by: Lawrence at September 14, 2008 1:24 PM


That's quite a list.

You could have saved yourself time & energy by simply typing "RIFutureless".

Posted by: George Elbow at September 14, 2008 1:38 PM

What's been left unsaid: Carcieri slapped every conservative lawyer in this state in the face by taking his jihad against same-sex marriage out of state.
Reminds me of an old guy I once worked with complaining about municipalities brining in experts to buttress their positions: "Yeah, they're experts because they're from more than 50 miles away."

Posted by: rhody at September 15, 2008 1:50 PM
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