Supporting the Untouchables
As periodically happens, Mark Patinkin has dipped into politics to voice the thoughts of many a conservative… or many a reasonable Rhode Islander:
Just as troubling is the size of these pensions. By year 10 of retirement, off that $89,273 base salary, [Providence Deputy Assistant Fire Chief Dan] Crowley will draw a $66,796 pension now that he’s remained in management. He would have drawn a fatter $79,049 had he accomplished his “demotion.” But my goodness — even the “humbler” $66,796 takes your breath away. Off an $89,000 base? Aside from CEOs, show me the private sector pension that’s anywhere near that rich. No wonder property taxes are unaffordable in this state. How can it feel to be struggling on $40,000 a year while having to support $70,000 pensions for retired city employees, some of whom are in their 50s and working second professions?
I can attest that it’s maddening. Worse still are the accusations from those who enjoy playing with other people’s money that those of us who wish to apply the brakes “hate the community.” Yup, that’s the game: If you can’t afford the ever-escalation and recession-proof livelihoods of public sector workers, it’s an affront to the notion of town spirit, as it were, even if part of the frustration is the fact that higher tax rates make it more difficult to participate in town-based activities, like youth sports.