From Whence the Pension Reform Problem in Rhode Island

Ed Achorn’s most recent column highlights how little has changed in the public discussion of pension reform. This snippet, from a 2005 column of his, caught my eye in particular:

“Robert Walsh, executive director of the National Education Association Rhode Island, responded to last week’s cries for pension reform by dismissing it all as a partisan plot.
“‘Republicans support pension reform. Well, yeah. Where’s the story? Where’s the news?’ he asked.”

The photograph of an ostrich accompanying the essay is apt. Ultimately, there are no surprises, in this; it’s just that Rhode Islanders have been told to ignore such problems until the checks are literally nearing the point of not being written and then to expect one-time fixes and tax increases. That’s the cycle that our current collection of elected officials are likely to pursue now, and it’s a cycle that simply has to end.
It was also interesting to come across the name of a politician whom Governor Chafee tiptoed through revolving-door ethics rules to hire, with Achorn describing a 2003 essay:

Many legislators dismissed growing annual pension costs as small potatoes. I wrote: “$20 million-plus is still worth debate in most people’s books. And the costs are exploding: Pension contributions for state workers and teachers are slated to go up $60 million in the next year, says Mr. Carcieri. This would seem to present a crisis that cannot be ignored.”
(Now, in 2011, of course, the state confronts pension costs growing by hundreds of millions of dollars a year.)
Steven Costantino, then vice chairman of the House Finance Committee, accused the pension reformers of trying to stir up emotions. “You simply can’t cherry-pick an issue which is a hot button or a good sound bite,” he said.

Frankly, the only hope for Rhode Island is if voters begin teaching politicians that there can be consequences for their actions, which lesson has thus far been left to public sector unions to impart.

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
12 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
ANTHONY
ANTHONY
10 years ago

Unfortunately Justin far too many RI’ers are party to the problem. A quick look at the percentage of the populace employed in these sectors tell the story. Raimondo does not want to blame anyone and has come up with some potential fixes. The big question? Will the people most affected by the “fixes” buy into it? History tells us “NOT”. It is rather like being a true believer investing in a leader who leads you down the wrong path (HINT: Hussein Obama and the Obamaniks). Denial is the only thing that keeps them going while the clock of reality ticks toward bankruptcy.

Monique
Editor
10 years ago

“Steven Costantino, then vice chairman of the House Finance Committee, accused the pension reformers of trying to stir up emotions. “You simply can’t cherry-pick an issue which is a hot button or a good sound bite,” he said.”
Wow. Let’s start the list. After Cicilline’s been brought up on charges of misrepresenting public fiscal matters, this guy needs to be next.

David S
David S
10 years ago

Justin. You have an independent streak. Why the reliance on Ed Achorn? You turn your nose up to all things mainstream media and the projo– Why the Achorn? He could not find a blind squirrel on his best day. Just wondering.

Tommy Cranston
Tommy Cranston
10 years ago

Raimondo has proposed a simple 3 step solution:
1. Raise retirement age to 67-immediately.
2. Suspend COLA’s-immediately.
3. Reduce future benefits from 1.6%-2% to 1.2%.
These are NOT complicated. The GA could hold hearings this week and next and vote on them before month’s end.
They ain’t doin’ it. Not in June, not in October. Bend over and get ready for some “superior behavior” as commie plagaristic scumbag Rudy Cheeks puts it.

BobN
BobN
10 years ago

David, will you ever write something that contributes to the conversation? I’m getting the impression that you can’t.

Mike Cappelli
Mike Cappelli
10 years ago

David S is obviously a stupid liberal. Is he seriously contending that Ed Achorn has not been ON THE MONEY!! with the charade going on? Only a stupid liberal could make such idiotic allegations.

David S
David S
10 years ago

HMMM… short attention span on some of you commenters. Remember Ed’s wife? “Audit sought of Education Partnership’s records 01:00 AM EDT on Wednesday, July 9, 2008 By Jennifer D. Jordan Journal Staff Writer PROVIDENCE — The financial records of the nonprofit Education Partnership are in such disarray they will require a forensic accountant to review them, the lawyer appointed to sort out the organization’s finances said at a court hearing yesterday morning. Among those owed money are 95 college students who were promised about $177,000 in scholarships that apparently have not been paid, attorney Allan M. Shine told Superior Court Judge Michael A. Silverstein. So far, about 30 of the affected students have contacted Shine directly, he said. “As of now, your honor, the records are not in perfect condition … I think that is an understatement,” Shine said. “… We need to reconstruct records that are, as I say, less than complete. It will take us awhile to sort this out.” The Education Partnership, an advocacy organization backed by local businesses, went into receivership last month, in part because several contracts to produce research and reports for municipalities and school districts fell through, said Shine. He was appointed permanent receiver by the court yesterday after serving as temporary receiver since June 18. At the hearing, Shine gave an update to the judge on what he has discovered about the organization’s finances. Shine said that money from different sources — including federal grants earmarked for specific programs, grants from private sources and scholarship money –– apparently was mingled with the Education Partnership’s operational expenses. “There were no separate escrow accounts,” Shine said. Mark Higgins, dean of the University of Rhode Island’s College of Business Administration and an accountant, said funds should be kept separate for legal reasons. “Here at URI,… Read more »

BobN
BobN
10 years ago

David, I understand that you will use any tactic to express your hatred of Ed Achorn, but the article you posted is completely irrelevant to your comment. As such, it is a perfect example of the behavior that prompted my earlier post in this thread.

Dan
Dan
10 years ago

“Why the Achorn? He could not find a blind squirrel on his best day.”
I don’t care enough to follow Achorn on a regular basis, but through this blog I do know that he has been doing an excellent job covering the Iannazzi scandal in the state senate. So your statement is inaccurate, at least with regard to that important union corruption story.
“HMMM… short attention span on some of you commenters. Remember Ed’s wife?”
What does Achorn’s wife have to do with these issues? Certainly not enough to warrant reposting an entire article to the comments section.
David, your comments in this thread are the stuff of playground shouting matches and are only an embarrassment to your cause. It’s like somebody shouting, “Fatty fatty fat fat!” every time Michael Moore makes an appearance. Stick to the issues at hand.

Phil
Phil
10 years ago

David S
It’s funny that your question to Justin gets responded to by everyone but. So much for conversation. Dan and BobN have appointed themselves as gatekeepers to all discussion. Dan writes that your comments are “the stuff of playground shouting matches” but ignores the comment of Mike Cappelli, “David S is obviously a stupid liberal.” Why the double standard?
“Bend over and get ready for some “superior behavior” as commie plagaristic scumbag Rudy Cheeks puts it.”
That’s the offering of Tommy Cranston. BobN , Is that comment on topic and in your words “contributes to the conversation”. Again, why the double standard?

Tommy Cranston
Tommy Cranston
10 years ago

Don’t quote me out of context Phil you marxist pig. Here is my relevant post:
Raimondo has proposed a simple 3 step solution:
1. Raise retirement age to 67-immediately.
2. Suspend COLA’s-immediately.
3. Reduce future benefits from 1.6%-2% to 1.2%.
These are NOT complicated. The GA could hold hearings this week and next and vote on them before month’s end.
They ain’t doin’ it. Not in June, not in October.”

BobN
BobN
10 years ago

Phil lies again. There is nothing about “gatekeeping” in my comments to David. I’m just pointing out the inadequacy of his comments, which are irrelevant and unsupported.
You Leftists can’t expect your hateful propaganda to go unchallenged. But I think that you do.

Show your support for Anchor Rising with a 25-cent-per-day subscription.