Taking High Taxes and Underfunded Pensions to a Whole New Level

The budget disgrace
of Mike Napolitano.
A case for recall.

Not only did Cranston Mayor Michael Napolitano propose a FY 2008 budget that asked for a maximum tax-increase while offering no funding increase to the school system, but according to a Cranston Herald letter-to-the-editor from former City Finance Director Jerome Baron, the proposed budget also underfunds Cranston’s pension system…
The city’s pension for this year ending June 30, 2007, is properly funded at $21,723,021. The actuarially required amount for next year goes down by over $900,000 and continues to go down every year. Despite the huge Napolitano tax increase, the mayor is “under-funding” the pension budget by $1.7 million above and beyond the legitimate savings of more than $900,000. This is a giant step backward toward the ill-advised funding method of pay-as-you-go, under which instead of decreasing each year, the pension contribution will increase each year until 2024 when it will total over $26 million instead of the $19 million that would have been required if the responsible policies of the last four years had continued. The taxpayer will pay an additional $7 million in that one year alone, and get absolutely NOTHING in return.
So if Cranston is underfunding its school system AND its pension system, where’s all the money going?
And if anyone from the state GOP is reading this, I’d like to propose this message campaign for the 2008 election season: “Mayor Michael Napolitano: The leadership you get when you pull the straight party Democratic lever.”

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Bob Ricci
Bob Ricci
17 years ago

Mike Napolitano is a one term mayor. Many of those who voted for him, and subsequently met him, are shocked that they ever voted for him. The best thing that he can do for whoever wants to run against him is to meet as many people as possible. Once they see what a dope he is, they won’t be voting for him.
Ask Charlie Lombardi about his recent run in with Napolitano: “You know Mike, you have a big mouth. In fact, you’ve always had a big mouth”
Nappy will do himself in because he just can’t shut his big mouth.

17 years ago

“The allergic Mayor of Cranston”

17 years ago

Anyone find it odd that the letters from Jerry Baron & Alan Fung have an indentical, word-for-word paragraph?
Go to the “Herald” site and compare side-by-each.
It’s the one that begins “The city’s pension for this year…” Right down to the NOTHING in all caps at the end.
Look, I voted for Fung because I truly thought he was the better candidate, by far. But this kind of takes talking points to a whole new level.

17 years ago

Everyone knew that Cranston was going to be in tough shape for FY’08 and that yet another tax increase was going to happen. As I said back in 2005, I think this was a major factor in Laffey’s decision to run for the Senate–to get out of Cranston before another unpopular tax increase. It didn’t matter who got elected, Fung or Napolitano, they’d both be in the same position. You had to be drinking the Kool-Aid to believe otherwise. There’s really not much surprising here. The RI Auditor General’s recent report shows that Laffey-era Cranston may have overestimated certain revenues. At the same time, Cranston’s investments are doing well. This corresponds with what one would expect from a Laffey-run city hall. Strong investment returns are indicative of Laffey’s professional background. An unrealistic optimistic assessment of revenue is indicative of Laffey’s over-confidence, the same over-confidence that made him feel certain that he had won the election even after the polls had closed. Now for the irony. The pro-Laffey people are criticizing Napolitano for underfunding pensions while Napolitano defends his actions by saying that Cranston’s pension investments are outperforming benchmarks. Then Napolitano decides to remove the Laffey appointees to the city’s investment committee because he thinks the pension investments are not conservative enough. So Napolitano is using the above average investment returns to justify not fully funding pension funds, but is seeking the removal of those individuals who were in part responsible for the above average returns? I never believed in the Cranston “miracle”. I think it was a lot of hype, reflecting Laffey’s carnival barker style. But I do believe that Laffey made some tough calls and that Cranston made a fair amount of progress while he was mayor. Napolitano would do well to build on the things Laffey did well… Read more »

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