Hillary Campaign to Cicilline: Just Raise Taxes!
[This post originally appeared on February 22, 2008. I’ve bumped it up so that commenter Jayzeeh can judge first hand my opinion of David Cicilline and firefighters.]
Because the Providence firefighters had promised to picket Senator Hillary Clinton’s Rhode Island event this weekend over their lack of a contract with the city, her campaign has asked Mayor David Cicilline not to attend the event.
But before dropping that bomb on His Honor, Hillary’s campaign suggested as an alternative that the Mayor of the capital city of the fourth highest taxed state simply give in to the firefighters’ demands.
My own view of the “dispute” between the Mayor and Local 799 is that it amounts to play-acting by David Cicilline, who believes that this stance will confer upon him the title “Champion of the Taxpayer”. He is mistaken. It is clear that Providence needs to make some adjustments to its budget. But such adjustments must be across the board. The Mayor has, instead, selected a very short list of line items to adjust. This is not only ineffectual but unfair. Further, if, as the Mayor contends, there is room to negotiate within the firefighters’ contract (which there may well be), then there is also room for negotiation in a city contract ten times larger – the teachers’ contract. The Mayor has not seen fit to look for such flexibility in the latter case, only in the former, which involves a far smaller block of municipal employees and, accordingly, a much smaller block of potential political supporters. For these reasons, it is difficult to be impressed by his production “starring” the firefighters.
At the same time, the philosophy espoused by Senator Clinton’s campaign – “just cave” – in addition to not being very sensitive to taxpayers, is the very one which has led to Rhode Island being the fourth highest taxed state in the country. Roland Benjamin has an excellent post today about the extravagant proposals Senator Obama has made while campaigning. Following upon the advice by the Hillary campaign to the Mayor of Providence, it appears that these two Presidential candidates are in a race to see who can spend down the taxpayer’s wallet the fastest, one with expensive proposals and the other with an irresponsible approach to the negotiation of government contracts.