Note to the General Treasurer: If George Nee Supports It, It Is Definitively Not “Sound Fiscal Policy”
Kudos to WPRI for bringing this to light.
Treasurer Gina Raimondo is urging lawmakers to reject a little-noticed proposal by Governor Chafee to shave $2.6 million off the amount taxpayers must put into the pension fund next year.
The governor’s proposed 2012-13 budget would scrap a seven-year-old law mandating that if the state’s required pension contribution rate falls from one year to the next, taxpayers must put 20% of the reduction into the pension fund anyway.
Inexplicably, the General Treasurer doesn’t want to scrap this financially infeasible law. She wants the state – not exactly awash in surpluses – to somehow put that 20% in anyway.
”After thoughtful analysis, Treasury concluded that the policy should remain in effect and therefore did not recommend a change to this statute,” she wrote in a letter to House Finance Committee Chairman Helio Melo obtained by WPRI.com.
As Treasury’s analysis does not specify where the money would come from, it’s not clear how “thoughtful” the analysis could be. The Governor’s office noticed this absence of source, too. (This is all very confusing. I thought Treasurer Raimondo and not Governor Chafee was the fiscally prudent General Officer of the state.)
“In each of these years, we would need to provide this additional funding instead of having the savings accrue to the budget,” [Gubernatorial spokeswoman Christine] Hunsinger told WPRI.com. “Our proposal helps address the projected out-year deficits by not having to allocate funds to this purpose.” The state is on track to run a $349 million deficit in 2015-16.
However, that little detail doesn’t seem to bother at least one fan of doing things the old way.
Rhode Island AFL-CIO President George Nee praised Raimondo’s position. “The labor movement appreciates the treasurer weighing in on the side of our members,” he said in an email. “The present law is sound fiscal policy and should remain unchanged.”