RI Conservatives: “I can’t believe I live here”
Saturday, February 11, 2012
Condom Tossing: For several weeks members of Occupy Providence have been denying that condoms were flung about at RI Right to Life’s rally at the State House and accusing their political opponents of fabricating the entire story – even claiming that “FOX News came up with it.” This week, however, the RI State Police finally confirmed “that a trooper saw a man tossing condoms at a Jan. 26 anti-abortion rally at the State House…When the trooper realized they were condoms, he had the man escorted from the building.”(ProvidenceJournal.com)
Progressive Budgets: Last year members of the Republican Party (the party of Martin Luther King Jr.) put out a press release that called the RI Democrats’ state budget proposal “an absolute joke,” as it “simply balance[d] the books with more taxes, and the smallest of cuts to the welfare and public labor community. That's not good enough. We need a drastic change in direction.” At the time, General Assembly Democrats had amazingly gained public favor by rejecting Governor Chafee’s massive tax hikes, deciding instead to only raise taxes by $30 million while upping the wages of unionized government employees.
That’s how low the bar is for Rhode Island Democrats. Hey, they didn’t increase our taxes too much this year! Let’s go out and celebrate! Oh, wait, we don’t have any money left.
Last week Governor Chafee submitted his second state budget proposal, a plan that would “create $75.9 million in new taxes as well as another $17 million in rate increases” in order to round out a $7.9 billion budget – an increase from last year’s $7.7 billion budget. Chafee’s Director of Administration Richard Licht explained that the $94 million increase in state spending was simply “uncontrollable.” After complaining about several difficult budget items on A Lively Experiment, Licht said, “We can’t control it, and there’s nothing you can do about that. Unless you just change total eligibility. We didn’t change eligibility for anything.”
So, basically, we can’t. But, actually, we can. But we didn’t.
Progressives and Democrats will never diminish the size and scope of Ocean State government. They either don’t believe in doing so, or they’re too terrified of their party base that depends on government growth – organized labor and socialist activists.
Bob Walsh: “They won’t take concessions. They’ll sue. They’ll sue. They’ll sue.” That’s what one spokesman for New York City’s private-sector unions said about his government-union counterparts. And this week we witnessed NEARI executive director Bob Walsh assure Rhode Island taxpayers that organized labor will be slapping them with more lawsuits – unless lawmakers reject the recently passed state pension overhaul in favor of labor negotiations. According to a WPRI report, “Walsh said the unions have teams of lawyers working on the ‘planning and coordination with these fairly massive lawsuits that will have to be filed’ to challenge the pension law.”
Walsh is the labor leader who defied an attempt by Governor Carcieri to right the state’s pension system in 2003, declaring, “This is really not a negotiable issue for us.” In 2006 Walsh mocked Republicans’ longstanding warnings of a pension collapse after viewing a “Pension Reform Now” rally at the State House, saying, “Republicans support pension reform. Well, yeah. Where's the story? Where's the news?" Five years later it started to become more and more evident that Mr. Walsh is the embodiment of the very thuggish, stubborn, and reckless labor mentality that caused Central Falls retirees to have their pensions slashed in half.
Mr. Walsh also represents the same people who insisted for months that “a promise made should be a promise kept.” But now, in an attempt to compel lawmakers to dismiss the new pension changes, Walsh has abandoned that rallying cry, softened his tone, and claimed that “the realists among labor leadership understand changes have to occur [in the pension system].”
Really? Well, then I’m waiting for Council 94 president Michael Downey to begin informing union members that Bob Walsh, like Treasurer Gina Raimondo, wants to “strip [them] of their pensions.”
Ocean State union bosses have no credibility left. Just allow them to move ahead with their latest litigation against the taxpayers.
And after a police investigation was launched, disgruntled DPW employee Scott Cook was caught “on hidden camera tampering with a time clock.” Cook was subsequently fired, but according to City Manager Peter Graczykowski, “[Cook] was afforded due process under the collective bargaining agreement related to destruction of city property…The union does not agree with [the termination] and I understand they are pursuing arbitration.”
Two compelling questions are brought to mind: Do unions exist to protect the workers? Or do unions exist to protect bad workers? And exactly what percentage of Rhode Island’s government employees is infected with this sense of childish entitlement?
Rhode Island In Decline: Travel & Leisure recently named Rhode Island a “top affordable getaway,” a ranking based on “reasonably priced hotels and restaurants as well as budget-friendly theater tickets, free museums, or low gas prices. [And] being able to explore a city by foot.” Just several weeks earlier Rhode Island was also ranked the “third worst state in [the] country to retire.” TopRetirements.com explained that “the state’s high taxes [are] the prime reason for such a poor ranking.” We can thank decades of Democratic policies for turning Rhode Island into a socialist-guided Caribbean island – without the beautiful weather.
Travis Rowley (TravisRowley.com) is chairman of the RI Young Republicans and a consultant for the Barry Hinckley Campaign for US Senate.
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