The Civics Interview with John Robitaille: “Is it by design or by accident that government has been growing as if on autopilot?”

Question 4 to Republican Party Gubernatorial candidate John Robitaille: The combined state and municipal budgets for Rhode Island have grown steadily (adjusted for inflation) over the past 10 years, a period of time which includes September 11, 2001 and its immediate aftermath, the end-of-the-financial world as we knew it in 2008, and the relative lull (at least domestically) in between. Is it by design or by accident that government has been growing as if on autopilot — or would you disagree with that characterization entirely?

I believe that government is growing. Government is growing at the Federal level and the state level in scary proportions… Audio: 56 sec

…President Bush was a Republican, but he spent like a drunken sailor. President Obama is trying to expand government at a rate unheard of historically. He passed a healthcare bill that includes the hiring of hundreds of new IRS agents. It is scary to see where that’s going… Audio: 54 sec

It is interesting though. When you look at the size of Rhode Island government, on a state level we have close to 3,000 fewer employees, but the budget has gone up…We have about 10 billion dollars we’re spending for a state with about a million people as small as we are, way too much. Rhode Island does not have a revenue problem. Rhode Island has a spending problem… Audio: 1m 10 sec

We’ve created this destructive co-dependency on government with people who are lower-middle class or poor people, and there’s no incentive for them to get out of this destructive pattern that their lives are in… Audio: 39 sec

There are hundreds of millions of dollars of waste in the social service programs, and that’s the area that I’m going to focus on. People know me, they know I’m an advocate for people with developmental disabilities. People who come into this world who need our help through no fault of their own, we need to help them to the fullest extent that we can afford. But able bodied people, people who are on the system and work the system, and are not encouraged to get on a pathway of self-reliance, I’m going to zero in on those people… Audio: 1m 21 sec

On the municipality side, the cities and towns need to do exactly what has been done on the operations side of state government, but even better, and I know some of them are. We’re beginning to hear where cities and towns are working concessions with police and fire and some of the schools. That needs to continue. The public employee pension program is a bust. It needs to be stopped and frozen and we need to go forward with a 401(k). Audio: 30 sec

There are so many things that we need the political will to do, and I’m just optimistic that come November, we’ll have some people in that General Assembly that will support me… Audio: 59 sec

Can the Governor do it alone? No. The Governor can propose, through budget articles and the budget submission, to make a lot of these changes but the General Assembly has to make those changes. It’s within their purview. If anything this November, if I’m fortunate enough to be elected Governor, I need a bunch of help in that General Assembly, or we’re not going to get a lot more done… Audio: 33 sec

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