Local Town Drama in East Greenwich

Last week, there was a thoughtful editorial in the North East Independent newspaper, entitled Seniors need tax help, in which the writer argued that the seniors need assistance from the town of East Greenwich and are asking for a tax freeze.
A story in this week’s edition talks about the upcoming April 4 public meeting to discuss the tax freeze for seniors idea in East Greenwich.
Also in this week’s edition is my editorial entitled Freezing taxes for seniors shifts the burden unfairly, which argues that the tax freeze for seniors is bad public policy. One of my key points is that people want relief from high taxes but not enough people are talking about challenging the cause of those high taxes – the public sector union contracts, especially the teachers’ union contract.
A new editorial in the North East Independent says it is time to pay more attention to the school facility issues in East Greenwich. I would challenge one part of the editorial, which says: “It’s a bit ironic, though, because previous school committees deferred maintenance issues to focus on curriculum. It was a decision that left students with a high quality education, but sub-par surroundings. The most recent school committees have found themselves in the unenviable position of having to clean up the costly mess.” Maintenance was deferred, but not because of curriculum. It was deferred because 9-12% annual salary increases, zero co-payments on health insurance until this year, and paying people as much as $7,500/year when they didn’t use the school’s health insurance left no money for curriculum or facility maintenance.
In another typical move, the NEA teachers’ union is being its usual, uncooperative self and won’t consider moving from Blue Cross Blue Shield to United even though there would be savings to the taxpayers from such a change. This after they refused to pay more than 4-6% co-payments on their existing Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance.
(And the uncooperative attitude toward taxpayers gets extended to our children in North Kingstown, where the teachers are now operating under work-to-rule – to the detriment of the children once again – because the School Committee there wants to change insurance carriers for cost reasons.)
Meanwhile, the East Greenwich School Committee continues its longstanding habit of dysfunctional behavior.
School Chair Vincent Bradley offers his editorial viewpoint on the dysfunctionality here.
And the East Greenwich Pendulum summed up its view on the dysfunctionality in an editorial last week.
How ironic that we pay the fourth highest state and local taxes out of the 50 states so we can have the privilege of paying for the demands of outlandishly greedy unions combined with incompetent, dysfunctional public officials.
Simply pathetic – on all fronts.

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