RE: Governor Carcieri’s Big Proposal

Here’s the full 7to7 blog post Andrew mentions, below:

Governor Carcieri this afternoon laid out a plan to “solve the state’s budget crisis” that includes seeking legislation to freeze all state wages at current levels and cutting 1,000 state employees.
Carcieri said the employee reductions would save taxpayers $26 million in fiscal 2008 and another $40 million the following year.
The state is projected to be in a deficit at the moment. Carcieri says his plan today aims at making “fundamental reforms” to avoid future budget problems.
The governor’s proposal, which is being announced now at a State House news conference, also calls for:
— Renegotiating the health-care plan used by state employees by increasing the co-pays those employees would have to make at doctors’ visits, emergency room visits and for prescription drugs.
— “Putting out to bid every state service that could possibly be performed more efficiently by the private sector.” The governor will form a Competition in Government Task Force to review services where that could possibly work.
Carcieri “ruled out” using proceeds from the sale of tobacco bonds — the state’s share of tobacco settlement.
“Being well run means having a government that delivers quality service at a price our taxpayers can afford, and which is sustainable over the long-term,” Carcieri said in remarks prepared for delivery. “That is not the case today.”
The move comes preemptively as Democratic legislative leaders prepare to release their state budget proposal tomorrow.

Sounds like the Governor doesn’t like what he’s seeing coming out of the Legislature and that he’s resolved it’s nut-cutting time. Signal: “Enough pussy-footing around.”
MORE: Governor will be on Yorke’s show at 5 PM. Back to you Andrew….
MORE II: Yorke is reporting that apparently the Governor tried to talk to both Speaker Murphy and Majority Leader Montalbano about this proposal but that they balked. So I don’t want to hear anything about the Governor “legislating by press conference” or not talking with the Democrats. He tried, they didn’t want to. Remember, this is a two-way street.

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Warbucks
Warbucks
14 years ago

I don’t know if the Gov. has the fight in him to see this through. If he does, I’ll be the first to give him a lot of credit.
How he caved on the furlough plan was very disappointing….

Will
14 years ago

Glory! Glory! Hallejulah! Praise the Lord! Headline: Governor says, “Go ahead, make my day!”
The thing that makes this proposal much different than the furlough idea is that it would have required approval from the General Assembly, because it would neccesitate changing the terms of existing contracts. They had their chance to take the furlough, which would have basically made them take 4 days of unpaid time off per year, with no layoffs. They balked, and now, they’re living with the consequence of their intransigence.
The governor has the unilateral authority to layoff and fire state workers, without anyone’s approval. If they continue to balk at being cooperative, I really don’t think he’s going to stop at just the 1000 state workers mentioned today. He’s very serious about getting the state out of the mess that it’s in.

Mike
Mike
14 years ago

What year does the tobacco settlement money run out?
The GA is apparently selling the payments through 2060!

SusanD
SusanD
14 years ago

“The governor has the unilateral authority to layoff and fire state workers, without anyone’s approval.”
Really. Very interesting.
However it’s couched, the argument for solving the budget crunch by increasing revenue rather than cutting expenditures boils down to, we have the power of taxation and the guns to back it up. (Thank you, Matt Allen, for stating it so plainly.)
And that would be peachy except that Rhode Island is exactly the wrong state for this approach. Where ever you are in the state, you can be out of it in 45 minutes. Guns are ultimately trumped by voluntary locomotion.

Anthony
Anthony
14 years ago

This lay off was a long time coming, but nobody should be happy about it.
1,000 Rhode Islanders, many of whom have children, will find themselves unemployed and unable to support their families.
The Governor’s actions were necessary to provide for the long term fiscal health of the state and I give him credit for taking a tough stand.
But I would not express joy at what happened.
I hope that the state employees will be provided with job training to help them compete in the private sector.
I also hope that this will help not only reduce the deficit, but in some small way change a culture in which RI kids are told that they should aspire to get a state job.

Andrew
Editor
14 years ago

Warbucks,
I still think the joker in the deck is the education funding to cities and towns. If the rumors are true and the legislature is planning to flat-fund education aid, it gives the Governor the opportunity to change the narrative from “mean governor wants to hurt state employees” to “greedy legislature wants to hurt kids to pay for more welfare and their friends in state government”.
(And by sitting on the budget details for almost as long as legally possible, giving the minimum amount of notice for the budget hearing, and scheduling it on a Friday, the legislature is sure acting like there’s some details in the budget they don’t think are going to be terribly popular with the public.)

Will
14 years ago

Andrew,
Precisely.
Anthony,
Let me guess, state worker?
Anyway, I’m happy, even joyful. I only wish it could be more people getting the axe. Why should anyone be sad at the prospect of making THEIR government more efficient and of saving loads of money by shedding dead weight? Yes, fundamentally, they are people. However, they are people who have been living high on the hog at our expense, and this is the day of reckoning for them.
While I’m bloviating, why should state workers get any better treatment than the rest of us? Would we get job training or anything else to help us transition to another job in the private sector? Maybe some of them need to find out what it’s like for the average Rhode Islander to get a good job in the private sector, and then perhaps they’ll sympathize with the rest of us and appreciate all those who have been subsidizing their largess all these years. Maybe they’ll realize that it’s they who’ve systematically raped this state for their own benefit. Let them shop for generics at Walmart and maybe eat some goverment cheese, too. It’s called a life lesson — it’s about time they learned one. I have no sympathy. None.

Anthony
Anthony
14 years ago

No Will, just someone who has compassion for others.
Some people have the luxury of being born into wealth or happen to be born into a family business that gives them a job. Others have to struggle to get by on a day to day basis.
In any event, I’m not happy when I see others losing sources of income.

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