June 19, 2009

Tom Ward: Pinpointing the Two Big Weaknesses in the G.A.'s Draft Budget

Monique Chartier

From Valley Breeze publisher Tom Ward's on-line only editorial of yesterday.

• The pension “Cost of Living Adjustment” (COLA) cuts are minimal, and a joke. Those in the private sector would have to save well over a million dollars by age 60 to have anything even approaching the largesse of a state pension. Pension proposals put forward by both Gov. Donald Carcieri and a House study commission were ignored. Limited cuts were made, but very generous pensions remain.

• The biggest disappointment is this. Carcieri spent years working on a plan that might cost us a few bucks in the short term, but would put the state on a path to grow private sector jobs with cuts in business tax rates. In the end, it is only the private sector that creates wealth and can get us out of this mess.

Indeed, while some - any - form of the Economic Death and Dismemberment Act was thankfully kept out of this budget, our legislative branch very much needs to begin building a better outlook for Rhode Island in the medium and long terms as well. This involves modifications to our tax and regulatory codes.

Unless the General Assembly is planning to stay in session past June 30 to address this matter separately, now is the time and the budget is the place to undertake this critical work.

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Our morbidly obese state government has decided to continue ordering diet soda with its fast food meal, even as it has decided to go from "medium" to "supersize."

And consider this to be an accomplishment.

We should give one of those fast food worker paper hats to every member of the General Assembly, so they can wear them as they take orders from the union bosses and poverty pimps lined up at the counter.

The only "biggest losers" here are the taxpayers who can't escape, the seniors who will sell their over-property taxed homes under duress, and the young people who will have to leave in order to find a decent job after graduation.

Posted by: Tom W at June 19, 2009 7:26 PM

Hopefully, The Don's been getting sound financial advice from his friend Pat Robertson. But then again, he wasn't invited on the 700 Club to discuss pension reform.

Posted by: rhody at June 19, 2009 10:08 PM

To:rep-fox@rilin.state.ri.us, rep-costantino@rilin.state.ri.us, rep-murphy@rilin.state.ri.us

Subject:Fix the pension system in the FY2010 Budget

Dear Speaker Murphy, Leader Fox, and Chairman Costantino:

As a Rhode Island voter, I urge you to reform the Pension System as part of the FY 2010 budget.
In this time of economic distress, the state can no longer afford this pension burden for the elite few.

The pension “Cost of Living Adjustment” (COLA) cuts are minimal, and a joke. Those in the private sector
would have to save well over a million dollars by age 60 to have anything even approaching the largesse
of a state pension.

Even worse, 25% of the people taking advantage of the pension system do not even live or vote in our

I know you have a very difficult job in trying to create a balanced budget under the current economic
conditions. It is obvious everyone is going to have to do their part to help the state regain its financial
footing. This includes the too many at the top of the pension abuses.

Thank you for your attention and please, do real reform of the state pension system as part of the
FY2010 budget.


Posted by: justasking at June 20, 2009 8:57 AM

Is that your real moniker?
Carcieri spent years lining his and his friends pockets. Are you one of the few, the proud, the over $200,000/yr wet bottoms claiming the flat tax? Or are you a working stiff you sees his taxes going up each year.

Posted by: nuke at June 20, 2009 6:30 PM

"Carcieri spent years lining his and his friends pockets."

Do tell. Has he been giving investment advice? Or perhaps carrying out bank heists and sharing?

He sure hasn't single-handedly modified the tax code. That power rests solely with the General Assembly. The modest amount of balance restored to our income tax brackets was accomplished only because the General Assembly gave its blessing to a suggestion by the Governor.

(Let's hope they now see the wisdom of modifying the tax code so as to bring more corporations to the state.)

Posted by: Monique at June 20, 2009 8:13 PM

So how long have you been a state worker?

Posted by: bobc at June 22, 2009 6:29 AM
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