About That Status Quo
Meeting with East Greenwich town officials, Sen. Leonidas Raptakis (D, Coventry, East Greenwich, Warwick, West Warwick) spoke against state mandates:
“We have so many archaic statutes, contracts and mandates, unless we start deleting these mandates or give cities and towns latitude, we’re going to start this revolving circle again, and it’s going to get worse,” he said. “If we don’t get tough this year and next year, things are going to get worse for many years to come.”
And House Minority Leader Bob Watson (R, East Greenwich, West Greenwich) made this interesting suggestion:
He also said he was intrigued by the idea of cities and towns protesting by withholding the funds they collect on behalf of the state.
That, he said, would get the General Assembly’s attention. “I think that would create a great dynamic.”
But missing from their comments — or at least reportage of them — is an explanation of what they would do to make up the difference for the cuts to municipalities that they oppose:
“I do not support any idea of taking monies off the table that have been earmarked for communities. I take that as irresponsible, particularly because we didn’t give any relief from state mandates,” said Watson. “I think there will be enough pressure to at least preserve the status quo.”
The “status quo” is a deficit. It’s a state with insufficient funds to pay its bills. Senators and representatives, especially, have a responsibility, if they oppose cutting one area of spending, to explain what area ought to see the cuts instead. When they meet with local officials, they ought to take the opportunity to explain the reality of that situation; perhaps they’ll begin to loosen the logjam of apathy and ideology that’s flooding the state.