Municipal Bankruptcy Accelerant: Binding Arbitration Prowls the Back Rooms of the State House
The RI Tea Party sent out the following alert yesterday.
Union leaders are behind the scenes looking for their quid pro quo as a result of the budget freeze on longevity payments.
They are lobbying the Senate Labor Committee and all members of the Senate for the passage of binding arbitration on fiscal matters in our school systems as a payback for the freeze on bonuses for seat time!
What does this mean? Public sector unions want binding arbitration on fiscal matters when school districts reach impasse with the local union leaders. They want to strip elected officials of their democratic rights to regain control over unaffordable and unsustainable contracts. They don’t care that your property taxes will only increase as a result of their ultimate control via an arbitrator.
Since when should a private citizen, earning a living as an arbitrator, have the right to set the very cost drivers that suck-up the majority of property tax revenue?
Since when has arbitration ever had any positive effects on student achievement?
And this critical point:
There is NO compromise that any bill could provide that makes binding arbitration and perpetual contracts taxpayer or student friendly!
Correct. In fact, on the procedural level, it is misguided compromises like these that have bestowed upon Rhode Island its chronic budget shortfalls, bad economy and anti-business (therefore, anti-worker) environment.
On the macro level. There are some legislative initiatives that continue the state’s march towards financial extinction – but slowly. (The poor business climate. Ever more taxes. Refusal to grant cities and towns the tools they need to control their own budgets – actually, that’s probably not so slow.) Then there are the fast track proposals: lack of real pension reform. “Perpetual” contracts. And this, binding arbitration.
To trade longevity bonus give-backs for binding arbitration is kind of like a cancer patient getting one chemo therapy session in exchange for a dose of poison. Let us hope that Rhode Island’s medical proxy sees the destructiveness of this absurdly disproportionate trade-off. Or better, perhaps the Tea Party is correct and this needs to be specifically pointed out to members of the House Labor Committee.