Nesi: Providence Deficit Similar to Central Falls
Ted Nesi notes the similarity between the Central Falls and Providence deficits:
[Central Falls’] budget shortfall was also pegged at about 17% when it filed for receivership during its 2009-10 fiscal year. But because of its small size, the actual amount of Central Falls’ deficit was only $3 million – a rounding error compared with Providence’s $110 million gap.
Nesi asked RIPEC director John Simmons his take:
…Simmons cautioned against leaping to any conclusions based on this morning’s sketchy advisory, saying it’s impossible to really understand the Providence projections without knowing how the review panel defined “structural deficit.”
He also said the early numbers released by Central Falls when the city made its first, unilateral receivership filing probably understated its predicament.
Still, while Central Falls is significantly smaller than Providence, Simmons did see “common themes” between the two cities, notably a basic gap between money in and money out. But Providence is ”one of the engines of the economy activity, and having a structural balance in the capital city is important for the state as a whole,” he said.
As I tweeted to Nesi, “Remember: Simmons was Chief of Admin for Providence w/Cicilline before his new gig at RIPEC. Beware of self-serving spin.” Simmons replaced Gary Sasse at RIPEC after an initially rocky tenure as Chief of Administration for then-Mayor Cicilline. That doesn’t mean we should ignore or doubt Simmons off hand–he’s certainly got plenty of relevant experience to call upon. But it’s something to keep in mind.