March 2, 2011

Providence Deficits: The Legacy of Cicilline

Marc Comtois

Everything was so rosy in Providence under former Mayor David Cicilline. Remember? Now we know why. Cicilline's adminstration basically slapped an new coat of paint on a rickety jalopy and called it "new." Earlier this month, we learned that then-Mayor Cicilline's administration paid for the paint by drawing down on the rainy day funds, underfunding pensions and plain old overspending. Now, new Mayor Angel Taveras is dealing with the fallout (h/t Ian Donnis):

The Finances Review Panel delivered its final report to Mayor Taveras late Tuesday evening. The Mayor’s team will make full copies of the report available at 10AM on Thursday morning. A summary of the report is as follows:

• This fiscal year’s structural deficit is $70 million.

• Next fiscal year’s structural deficit is $110 million.

• Without immediate remediation efforts, the City is expected to end this year with a deficit of as much as $29 million.

• These figures all assume no mid-year reductions in state aid.

“The findings of the Municipal Finances Review Panel lay bare the true extent of Providence’s financial crisis,” Mayor Taveras said. “When I took the oath of office on January 3, I made a commitment to be honest with the people of Providence about the problems we face. I also promised that I would not shy away from making tough decisions to put our city back on firm financial footing. We are taking immediate actions to make the tough decisions needed to move Providence forward. Our citizens expect and deserve nothing less.”

Hence, the teacher "firings" and more to come. Thanks Congressman Cicilline.

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Hate to say I told you so. Actually, that's not true, I kind of enjoy saying I told you so. There was more to the Providence Firefighters picketing Cicillini than our contract, believe it or not.

Posted by: michael at March 2, 2011 11:35 AM

Umm, exactly what is a rainy day fund for if not the deepest recession since the Great Depression? This post is a hit job on a political foe, plain and simple.

Oh, and the budget problems (in towns across the state btw) are completely unrelated to the policies of the outgoing governor.

Posted by: Russ at March 2, 2011 11:39 AM

Will voters in the First District hold Rep. Cicilline accountable for his incompetence as Mayor of Providence?

Posted by: brassband at March 2, 2011 11:40 AM

-David Cicilline

Russ, ask Moody's what the rainy day fund is for, and I bet the answer will be seen loud and clear in the city's bond ratings.

It's a hatchet job to simply point out what the current progressive and Democrat mayor of the city has told to the media? Who's wielding the hatchet, Taveras?

Posted by: Patrick at March 2, 2011 11:53 AM

"Umm, exactly what is a rainy day fund for if not the deepest recession since the Great Depression?"

Please explain why the financial collapse/recession should affect city finances. Sure, the tax base drops, but Providence raised it's rate to maintain the levy, so that can't be it. The pension funds are doing badly too, but that's a reason to -put more in-, not cut back on contributions to the system.

What Ciciline did was leave the city with a budget that bleeds 10% more than it eats. A 70-million one-time budget shortfall is an acceptable reason to tap an emergency fund, but a 'structural' deficit is a different beast altogether. A structural deficit of $70M/year and debt service eating $60M/year means we're -way unbalanced-.

Posted by: mangeek at March 2, 2011 12:38 PM

Russ is right, this is nothing but a hit job, and Sissyline did a great job managing the finances. When Internal Auditor James Lombardi warned in a report in October that Providence was out of money, he was wrong. Things are actually great in Providence.

Just one question for Russ - are you really this stupid, or is it just an act?

Posted by: Mike Cappelli at March 2, 2011 1:29 PM
Please explain why the financial collapse/recession should affect city finances. Sure, the tax base drops, but Providence raised it's rate to maintain the levy, so that can't be it.

My property tax bill went down about 25% last year. Most folks property taxes were lowered.

So I take it you guys also blame the governor for the state deficit, right? No? Wonder why that is?

Posted by: Russ at March 2, 2011 4:22 PM

Wait, your property tax bill when down, but that's not a structural deficit? He raided the rainy day fund, and you're going to defend that?

So to make himself look good, he charged you less, but left the city in a crap heap. And that's defensible to you?

Posted by: patrick at March 2, 2011 4:45 PM

Gayvid is proud, really proud, really awesomely proud, totally really awesomely proud of himself and the job he did in cleaning up the city and putting it on fine fiscal footing.

Russ-PLEASE tell us us what government tit you suck off.

Posted by: Tommy Cranston at March 2, 2011 7:07 PM

Thoroughly enjoying the "media outing" of David Cicilline and the union freak show ongoing in the city of Providence.
Nobody here on the right side of the tracks is surprised by what's going on in Providence. We knew it was coming and kept saying so. Davey kept balancing his deficit ridden budgets without significant cuts. An obvious shell game. Anyone who was paying attention is not surprised by what's going on. We're actually highly amused by this spectacle.
Lib on lib crime is such a beautiful and entertaining show.
Lots of us also had real problems with John Loughlin running such a feather soft campaign against such a corrupt and disingenuous opponent.
Just doesn't get any better than this....oh wait, it is going to get much better than this.
This is only the beginning.
This fire has been decades in the making.
Let it burn baby. Let it burrrrrn!!!!!!!

Posted by: Tim at March 2, 2011 8:00 PM

Once I detach myself from the rage I feel toward corrupt Democrats, public unions, and their progressive cheerleaders for utterly destroying my home state, Rhode Island is actually a fascinating economic case study illustrating the failure of progressive economics. The entire country should pay attention to what happened in Rhode Island to prevent a similar fate.

Posted by: Dan at March 2, 2011 9:58 PM

I'll bet those highly educated, mobilized, and unionized teacher types in Providence never saw this coming last November when the went to the polls. Surprise!!!

Posted by: Max Diesel at March 2, 2011 10:03 PM

Why is anyone surprised?
Cicilline has always been a vile,lying little creature.
If he gets voted back in as District 1 Congressman,the whole district should fall into the bowels of the Earth.
He is a demonic POS.

Posted by: joe bernstein at March 3, 2011 12:41 AM
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