Tom Ward: Pinpointing the Two Big Weaknesses in the G.A.’s Draft Budget
From Valley Breeze publisher Tom Ward’s on-line only editorial of yesterday.
• The pension “Cost of Living Adjustment” (COLA) cuts are minimal, and a joke. Those in the private sector would have to save well over a million dollars by age 60 to have anything even approaching the largesse of a state pension. Pension proposals put forward by both Gov. Donald Carcieri and a House study commission were ignored. Limited cuts were made, but very generous pensions remain.
• The biggest disappointment is this. Carcieri spent years working on a plan that might cost us a few bucks in the short term, but would put the state on a path to grow private sector jobs with cuts in business tax rates. In the end, it is only the private sector that creates wealth and can get us out of this mess.
Indeed, while some – any – form of the Economic Death and Dismemberment Act was thankfully kept out of this budget, our legislative branch very much needs to begin building a better outlook for Rhode Island in the medium and long terms as well. This involves modifications to our tax and regulatory codes.
Unless the General Assembly is planning to stay in session past June 30 to address this matter separately, now is the time and the budget is the place to undertake this critical work.