Time for Cities and Towns to Tighten Their Belts
From today’s ProJo:
With the state facing a budget hole as high as $450 million for the fiscal year that begins July 1, House Finance Committee Chairman Steven M. Costantino, D-Providence, yesterday urged municipalities to craft their own budgets with the understanding “that the state is facing a serious, serious deficit…. I would not expect any increase in local aid, not just education aid.”
There was an uproar in May when the General Assembly approved the current budget without an increase in education aid. But local leaders likely won’t be caught by surprise this year, said Dan Beardsley, head of the Rhode Island League of Cities and Towns.
“Anyone who fully understands the magnitude of that deficit surely understands why there’s not going to be any additional aid in any local aid category,” he said. “I just hope we don’t see any reduction. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it doesn’t get to that.”
Sorry Mr. Beardsley, I think it has to get to that. The FY08 aid to cities and towns was $250,349,882. At this point, I’d say just cut it all. Make city and town governments do their part to trim their budgets. If that means renegotiating contracts and cutting services, so be it.
Here’s a place to start: the good old boys at the GA sure took nice care of their pal Sue Menard (Cianci of the North) so she wouldn’t have to spend her own city’s money and get re-elected again. She’s living proof that not all the good ‘ol boys are boys.
Cut the $250XL? Sure, and then cut all the unfunded mandates imposed by the state. Get rid of the paper shufflers overseeing the unfunded mandates and encourage the cities and towns to do the same with the people generating the paper sent to the state shufflers.
You have the right idea. Cut off all aid to the towns and force them all into Chapter 9.
Then announce that future state aid will be contingent on a town meeting certain guidlines like making police/fire work till 55, mandatory 20% health co-shares, cuts in all departments including teachers, police and fire, limited spending increases to the rate of inflation with not a penny more with no “opt-outs”.
Plus ludicrious positions like Sissyline’s six figure “Director of Protocol” and benefits for crossing guards must be eliminated.
If that requires state mandates to be modified or eliminated SO BE IT.
These measures have been taken in other states and are by no means “impossible”.
What IS “impossible” is continuing to increase spending at triple the rate of inflation.
The real RI FUTURE:
Chapter 9 Bankruptcy
“Municipalities may also reject collective bargaining agreements and retiree benefit plans without going through the usual procedures required in chapter 11 cases.”
Sleep tight union maggots.