November 13, 2007

Instead of Cutting Meals on Wheels...

Marc Comtois 20%, what if the General Assembly made a couple cuts from their own budget.

The budget for the Legislature includes funding for Legal Counsel. Last year there was funding for 15.4 positions at a total of $863,875 ($56,095/lawyer). This year they jacked it up to 16.6 positions for a total of $971,249 ($58,509/lawyer). Let's just level fund that (no extra lawyers and no raises) and save $107,374. Or give them their raises and "save" $70,210.

Here's another: there were 21 Legislative Aides funded in FY07 at $751,961 ($35,808/aide). Now the Legislature wants 2 more for a total cost of $853,792 ($37,121/aide). I won't even suggest level funding, just keep the 21 at the new price and "save" $74,242.

They also hired a new Auditor at....well, on second thought.

Anyway, put the savings from not creating these new state jobs together and that's more than enough to pay for Meals-on-Wheels. And no state workers will even lose their jobs!

Finally, these are just the instances where they've added positions. Overall, payroll costs for the Legislature have gone up 7.7% (the salary only portion has gone up 4%). Let's say we cut those back too. It's a start.

Now, this assumes you think Meals-on-Wheels is a program worthy of receiving $1 million/year from the State. According to Sandy Centazzo, president & CEO of Meals on Wheels of Rhode Island (interviewed by Dan Yorke this afternoon), the program cost about $3 million to run last year (a reduction from past years) and is staffed by some 1,200 volunteers.

The fact is, in these trying times, we need to decide what our state spending priorities are. In many instances, it will call for non-profit organizations to do what they do--fund raise--without the level of government help that they are used to.

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Facing a $500 million dollar structural budget deficit, we need to make those cuts in addition to those to meals on wheels.

Posted by: Theracapulos at November 13, 2007 2:21 PM

Cutting a lawyer entitlement program? No argument here.

Posted by: rhody at November 13, 2007 3:04 PM

They'll have to cut by seniority though.

Seniority will be determined as follows (top to bottom), based upon relation to the General Assembly leadership:

Mistresses (male or female)

Those with tangible incriminating evidence (documents, recordings)

Those with testimonial incriminating evidence only


Immediate family members (blood)

Immediate family members (by marriage or adoption)

Large donors

First cousins

Second cousins

Third cousins

Unrelated but willing to suck up - competent

Unrelated but willing to suck up - incompetent


Posted by: Ragin' Rhode Islander at November 13, 2007 3:55 PM

"Mistresses (male or female)"

Let's hope they followed the rule of putting their goomars in different departments. Otherwise, this could get really ugly.

Posted by: Rhody at November 13, 2007 4:44 PM


Where does the bagman fall on this list?

Posted by: Monique at November 13, 2007 5:26 PM

As far as the Meals on WHeels program goes, the most telling statement in the ProJo article to me was this: "There are no income guidelines “because the government feels that nutrition is a staple of life,” said Centazzo.

If this doesn't show the entitlement attitude that permeates this entire state, I don't know what does.

How about this - if you can afford to pay for this service, why should it be provided for free?? Just like every social program in this state, IF YOU OFFER IT FOR FREE SOMEBODY WILL BE THERE TO TAKE IT!!! IT DOES NOT MEAN THEY NEED IT!!! If those who can afford to pay for it don't deem it important enough to do so, should I give a crap if they don't get it?
This is the typical asinine liberal nonsense that has this state in the shitter.
Besdies, I know people in my area who get this service, could pay for it, and have relatives nearby to provide these services.
CUT these programs to the bone so that those who NEED it are served.
All the other leaches can go to hell.
They obviously don't care about my money being spent frugally. Why should I care about them?!?!

Posted by: Martin Frye at November 13, 2007 6:13 PM

That really does cut right to the heart of it, doesn't it? None of us are really against providing important and often essential services to people AS LONG AS THEY NEED IT! It's pissing money away on giving billionaire Warren Buffett a Social Security check every month while we can barely afford to pay our bills.

Posted by: Greg at November 13, 2007 6:51 PM

In addition, the $100,000-plus benefits naturally-paid to Sandra (I sleep with a Senator) Whitehouse as a "part-time enviornmental consultant" to the Legislature.

Posted by: Mike at November 13, 2007 7:21 PM

None of this is funny or deserves snark. We can cherry pick ways to cut and move funds, but the reality is that the whole thing is just sad. We think we are the greatest country on earth, yet we argue about how to feed lonely elderly people who need assistance. And we cut them off when we cant figure it out. What's so wrong about the govt (local/state/fed) covering food for such unfortunate people? Passing the buck to a mysterious cloud of nonprofits, volunteers, and donors is not responsible. We are talking about elderly people here that need to eat. Our elected leaders should have this figured out. Whether local, state, fed, legislative, executive, regardless of party. It's shameful.

Posted by: Anonymous at November 13, 2007 8:25 PM

You are asocialist dope. I don't think the most arch conservative is against helping those who TRULY need help. However, don't you dare take advantage of me and my generosity by wasting my hard earned money on those who DO NOT NEED IT.
It is YOUR idiotic thinking that ends up hurting those who truly need the help. In your warped stupid mind, you cannot understand the concept of "the allocation of scarce resources."
When you fritter away your resources on those who DO NOT need it, you have nothing left for those who DO need it.
It is a very simple concept even a stupid liberal should be able to grasp.
THere is a reason that Socialism is a proven failure. GO figure it out.

Posted by: Morgan at November 13, 2007 8:41 PM
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