Answering Rep. Martin
According to the ProJo, Freshman Rep. Peter F. Martin, D-Newport witnessed yesterday’s Gaspee Tea Party march through the halls of the State house. He asked some questions:
“It’s democracy in action,” Martin said, adding that the budget outlook is messy. “Do they have any answers? If they have answers, do they have any methods to implement them? What services and programs are they willing to give up?”
The answer to your first two questions is the same: Spend less. As for the services and programs we’re willing to give up? Wrong focus. What services and programs are you, the politicians, willing to give up? Your reaction to legitimate taxpayer frustration betrays your ignorance of the alternatives that are out there. It’s also a cop-out to look to those who elected you for answers. They elected you because you said you had the answers.
Most people–though maybe not your constituents–want government to leave them alone and only utilize basic government services, most of which are provided at the local level. At the state level, there are some over-arching, systemic problems that need to be addressed: pensions, health-care, tax policy, etc. You and your fellow legislators were elected to address these big problems, not to just submit feel-good resolutions or glad-hand at ballparks. I’ve got a soft spot for all of that, but there’s some real work to do here.
I realize the House Leadership keeps Freshmen legislators like yourself in the dark. Perfect attendance is nice, but maybe it’s time to be proactive, get out of the State House and look for some answers yourself. That’s why you were elected.
I think there is a simple, two part, solution …
1 ) Cut *everything* that is not used by *every* citizen of Rhode Island.
2 ) Keep your charity out of our budget.
I think government should be cut back to the point where we have to ask ourselves if government is still in business.
Cut everything and start anew.
We’ll only need a handful of people to run…hey, that’s the ticket, that’s why the GA doesn’t want to cut government spending. Silly me.
Notice you don’t have Theo Epstein asking “Well, what do the fans think we should do with David Ortiz? What should we do at shortstop?”
The reason? He knows best and he knows that he knows better than the fans.
It is supposed to be the same thing with government. If you don’t know best, you shouldn’t be there. If you’re asking what to do, then you should be the one being asked what to do, by a different incumbent. One and done, Rep Martin.
Martin asked a very legitimate question.
If people want taxes cut, fine, some services will have to go. But will they be the same people screaming about their own pet causes that got cut?
Why has it taken so long for Rep. Martin to pose the question? I never realized that balancing the budget was my decision – I guess that’s why it hasn’t been done yet…
Rep Martin, I don’t think we should have RiteCare, a part-time legislature with a full-time staff of 300+, a $3 million slush fund for the speaker to dole out, useless positions all across government (ever seen DEM, Rep. Martin?), 39 redundant cities and towns with overlapping services and high propery taxes, union contracts that build in incredibly-high fixed operating costs, and on and on…
Oh, and how would I feel about these cuts? Well, I pay for my own health care, because I have a job, I don’t really care that much about having full-time staff at the legislature (you see, Martin, I am not a legislator…), I could care less about useless positions in government (I don’t really care about getting my brother-in-law a job – he has one), and seeing as how I have been paying a huge chunk for my health care and have a 401k (not new developments, by the way), I am not going to lose a hell of a lot of love for the politician who wants to cut the generous union contracts.
Martin, I hope you enjoyed your only term. Go back to sleep.
“Martin asked a very legitimate question.
If people want taxes cut, fine, some services will have to go. But will they be the same people screaming about their own pet causes that got cut?”
Excellent point. However… the problem is that the people footing the bill by in large are not the same people getting the services. The “anger” is that the majority who are productive taxpayers are being forced to support a perennially unproductive minority.
The “moochers” as some may call them simply keep getting what they want because they demand it .. loudly. The overwhelming majority of the Rhode Island population, much like a beaten spouse who’s used to being beaten and has limited self-esteem as a result, but who is afraid to leave that spouse, just hasn’t gotten to the tipping point which they decide to fight back or leave what is clearly an abusive situation. The tea parties are definitely a good start towards changing that.
I think at some point things are going to get so bad here that the only option left is what is currently happening in California. I really don’t think we’re all that far from that either, especially if revenue to the state keeps falling, but spending isn’t correspondingly cut.
PS I’ve got a great “out of the box idea” … free bus tickets and a voucher for start-up living expenses to any state of your choice. Make them someone else’s problem. It not only reduces the burden on taxpaying Rhode Islanders, but also has the side benefit of making other states relatively less competitive! Slightly Machiavellian…