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NEW: Fung Calls for Chafee and Raimondo to “Come Clean” on Pensions

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

 

Allan Fung

Cranston Mayor and Republican Gubernatorial candidate Allan Fung today issued the following statement to Governor Lincoln Chafee and General Treasurer Gina Raimondo to "come clean with local officials and taxpayers regarding their proposed changes to the state pension plan that were negotiated in secret."

See Statement BELOW

The Fung camp released the following statement:

“After months of closed-door meetings and negotiations, Members of the General Assembly have been briefed, a press conference has been scheduled, and rumors and speculation are rampant – it’s past time to let local officials in on the secret,” reacted Fung. Fung also pointed to speculation that the State Retirement Board also may meet in secret tomorrow to avoid public scrutiny when its members learn of the proposal and a briefing for mayors and town administrators has been scheduled to take place after a planned press conference on Wednesday. “Cities and Towns throughout Rhode Island are struggling with one fiscal crisis after another and it is unconscionable for the Governor and General Treasurer to plan a press conference while keeping local officials in the dark,” continued Fung.

“Pension reform legislation was approved overwhelmingly by the General Assembly and enacted by the Governor after a lengthy public debate. Any proposed changes must undergo the same public scrutiny and both taxpayers and beneficiaries must understand the implications of the proposed changes. Any attempt to undermine the fiscal integrity of the pension fund or to increase the burden on taxpayers without the same public scrutiny would epitomize politics as usual and the type of short-sighted and politically expedient behavior that helped to bring about our pension crisis in the first place,” continued Fung.

"The whole process has been shrouded in secrecy. I find it unfortunate that not one mayor or town administrator was included in any discussions. Further, there was no opportunity for public debate, when as we know, the taxpayers are the ones footing the bill. Rhode Island needs leadership on this issue and I urge the Governor and General Treasurer to permit an honest public discussion of any proposal,” continued Fung.

Over the past several weeks, Fung has voiced opposition to any pension proposal that would increase the immediate cost to Rhode Island taxpayers or weaken the long-term health and stability of the Rhode Island pension system. “The pending litigation holds tremendous implications for Rhode Island, but we must not allow any proposal to undermine the benefits of this law to both the taxpayers of Rhode Island and the long-term health of the state pension fund,” concluded Fung.  

 

Related Slideshow: 10 Questions Fung Has to Answer When Running for Gov of RI

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10) Can Fung raise the money necessary to be competitive?

At the last reporting period, Cranston Mayor Allan Fung's campaign had only $336,000.

 

Ken Block had $540,000 and he just entered the race.  

 

Democrat Gina Raimondo has over $2.3 million and even Angel Taveras has $759,000 cash on hand.

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9) Is Fung ready for prime time?

Fung is well-liked in Cranston and most everyone thinks Fung is a "nice guy."

 

Gina Raimondo and Angel Taveras can claim they took on tough issues.

 

Ken Block articulates big ideas and a proven record in business, but out of the gate Fung's campaign seems less than ready.

 

Fung's campaign manager got confused about how many Democrats Fung has  donated to and his motivation for donating to them. 

 

Would another four years in Cranston be the wiser path?

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8) Can Fung effectively run against Angel Taveras?

Fung claims Providence Mayor Angel Taveras as a close friend, but it raises questions about inherent personal conflicts and ability to run and effective race.

 

Politics in Rhode Island is often a blood sport, will Fung approve that knockout punch TV spot in the closing weeks that tags Taveras for the spiraling crime problem in Providence?

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7) Is Fung's base big enough?

For Mayor Fung, his base is Cranston, but he does not enjoy a groundswell of Hispanic voters like Providence Mayor Angel Taveras hopes to bank on (7% of the voters were Hispanic in the General Election in 2012, according to Pew Research).

 

A race against Raimondo would be tough as she would very likely have a strong block of female voters.

 

Where does Fung get his votes?

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6) Can Fung defend the tax increases in Cranston?

When Fung runs as a Republican against a Democrat, there is an advantage if Fung can point out a differentiation of fiscal discipline. Fung, as Mayor, had numerous and significant residential and commercial tax increases.

 

This will not help him against the fiscally prudent Ken Block, but even if he were to win the primary then he would lose the advantage against Angel Taveras in a General Election. Both have ushered large tax increases through their councils.

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5) Why pledge to create "20,000 jobs"? It sounds like Don Carcieri.

Don't know if Fung was paying attention, but GOP Governor Don Carcieri ran on...creating 20,000 new jobs. 

 

When Carcieri left office, Rhode Island had the worst unemployment in America. Not sure Fung wants to mirror that Carcieri pledge.

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4) Defending Don Carcieri and making him a part of the campaign - is that a good idea?

The collapse of 38 Studios has scarred Don Carcieri's legacy as Governor of Rhode Island. At best, Carcieri was star struck to give a baseball player $75 million -- at worse, Carcieri was part of something far more ominous.

 

For Fung, who wants to run as the future of Rhode Island, why be associated with Don Carcieri?

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3) Defending the lobbyist role?

In 2014, do we think Rhode Islanders will be looking for a former lobbyist for a large corporation that is cutting Rhode Islander's jobs to be our next Governor?

 

Lobbyist-turned-Governor will be tougher to pull off than actor Ronald Reagan-turned-Governor of California in the 1960's.

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2) Understand the changing position on gay marriage?

Hard to know what Allan Fung's position is on gay marriage. At different times he offered a range of views.

 

Some GOP primary voters have been opposed to the RI law and others were supportive, but neither segment of the GOP may understand what his position was -- or is.  

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1) Political donations to local, federal and national Democrats - are you sure you are a Republican?

Fung has given to David Cicilline, US Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, former RI Senate President Bill Irons and once RI Attorney General Patrick Lynch. Fung's campaign manager claims he was a lobbyist and needed to donate to Democratic leaders.  Cicilline, Reid and Lynch meet none of those criteria.  

 

Not only did Fung give thousands of his own dollars to Dems, he turned down requests from leading GOP candidates like John Robitalle and Jon Loughlin who were badly outspent and needed every dollar to win.

 

The Republican party in Rhode Island is a pretty small group trying to create a pretty big tent - from Scott Avedisian to Doreen Costa. For most Republicans in this state it is tough -- you don't enjoy the political connections and you're part of a tiny minority -- so loyalty matters.

 
 

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Comments:

Mayor Fung knows that more money going into the retirement fund will be coming out of state aid to the cities and towns. That revenue will then be made up by raising property taxes. Some cities would have gone bankrupt already if not for concessions from unions and retiree's. Whether its municipal retirees getting their pensions slashed like the Central Falls pensioners or its the COLA suspension of state employees, pension reform is coming, one way or the other.

A warning to municipal leaders; do not try to borrow your way out of bankruptcy. Detroit tried it in 2005 by borrowing $2,000,000,000. It only pushed out the inevitable and dug their hole deeper. Put the shovel down.

Comment #1 by Redd Ratt on 2014 02 11




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