Question 2 to Republican Party Gubernatorial Candidate John Robitaille: One set of criteria in the new fiscal stabilization law that can trigger a municipal takeover by the state involves decisions made by bond-rating agencies. The 1990s RI Supreme Court opinion which will likely be used to justify this new law begins with the statement that “on or about July 16, 1993, Moody’s Investors Services, a recognized bond-rating agency, downgraded the town of West Warwick’s municipal bonds to a grade Ba”. Are we living in a society that believes that financial-industry needs take precedence over democratic voice?
|Rhode Island is such a small state and I know the fear recently was if Central Falls were to fall, what would the next communities be. And if bankruptcy was in fact an option, would there be this whole domino effect of the weaker cities and towns all imploding… || Audio: 44 sec|
|It is a Constitutional question, and I think if I’m reading the Supreme Court’s decision correctly, it was almost a defensive move to protect as well as an adverse effect coming up on the bonds which would have cost all of the taxpayers across the state, outside of West Warwick. Similarly to current Central Falls problems, as the bond ratings go down, it will also have a negative effect on the other communities that perhaps are doing a better job. At what point does the state have an obligation to help protect all the other communities…|| Audio: 1m 39 sec|
|And what recourse do the citizens of the community, be that West Warwick or Central Falls, have in this process. Should there be an immediate referendum that says yes, we as citizens want the state to come in and help us because our elected officials have fallen short of their responsibility….Now, if the citizens of Central Falls got together and said no, we don’t want the state to help us, we want to go down in flames, then if that’s what the municipal rescue legislation says that everyone has agreed to, then that’s another kettle of fish…|| Audio: 48 sec|
|My fear from a statewide level is if you have a municipality that chooses the wrong road while there were other options on the table, and that choice is going to adversely impact the rest of the state, I think there needs to be more conversation than there was between Central Falls and the state, before the municipality chooses on its own to take the course of receivership…Maybe we need to do more to protect the Constitutionality of it and specifically bring it to the people…|| Audio: 53 sec|