Once Again Offering AR’s Services to Steve Peoples
The Providence Journal’s Steve Peoples provides another scrapbook entry for the file illustrating how average folk around her develop such a skewed understanding of the state’s operation:
Governor Carcieri has asked the state’s highest court to strike down a law passed last year that he says threatens to paralyze Rhode Island government by blocking his ability to use private companies to conduct state business. …
The law requires state departments to conduct detailed cost comparisons before awarding contracts to private firms. It also requires that “the savings to the state is substantial,” but does not define “substantial” savings. And the law gives “affected parties” — program recipients, state employees or unions — 60 days to appeal any privatization decision to a Superior Court judge.
The Democrat-dominated General Assembly has defended the law as an essential safeguard for ensuring savings.
“If the governor could prove by going through this process that he could save money, I would be standing next to him to support that,” said Rep. Charlene Lima, D-Cranston, who had introduced the legislation for 13 consecutive years before it was approved close to midnight in the final days of the previous legislative session. “I just find it incredulous that the governor, in light of the great fiscal crisis we’re facing, would be asking the Supreme Court about the constitutionality of a bill that would provide transparency and ensure that there’s a taxpayers’ savings.”
As we’ve explained on this page before, requiring “state departments to conduct detailed cost comparisons” hardly does justice to what this law does. It stacks the deck for the unions, delays the process by months, and allows the General Assmbly to throw up road blocks.
The bill didn’t make it into the law for thirteen years, until midnight on the even of our state’s clearly looming fiscal crisis. One way or another, it ought to go.