Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Saving Central Falls

Where is this town? It could be just about anywhere in America:
The impoverished city, operating under a receiver for a year, has promised $80 million worth of retirement benefits to 214 police officers and firefighters, far more than it can afford. Those workers’ pension fund will probably run out of money in October, giving Central Falls the distinction of becoming the second municipality in the United States to exhaust its pension fund, after Prichard, Ala.
“Time is running out,” warns Robert G. Flanders, the state-appointed receiver, who recently closed the public library and a community center to save money. He has no power to cancel the city’s contracts with workers, so instead he has begun approaching retired police officers and firefighters with what he describes as “the Big Ask”: will they voluntarily accept smaller benefits in the name of saving Central Falls?
Rhode Island. Well, cities can go bankrupt. States, it's debatable. The Feds can just print money.

We've sent our citizen legislators to Washington to stop the spending, because the DC red ink is only part of the bleeding we have to stanch around this country at every level of government.
These uniformed workers can retire after just 20 years of service, receive free health care in retirement, and qualify for full disability pensions when only partly disabled.[snip]
If the city were contributing the recommended amount to the plan each year, it would take 57 percent of local property tax revenue.
Daniel L. Beardsley Jr., executive director of the Rhode Island League of Cities and Towns, said it was not the city’s idea. Other states limit what can be decided in collective bargaining, but Rhode Island’s law says that for police and firefighters, “wages, hours and any and all terms or conditions of employment” are subject to negotiation.
“That means even the length of a mustache,” said Mr. Beardsley, who over many years has represented Central Falls and other municipalities in contract negotiations. Talks broke down more often than not, he said, and then the same state law called for binding arbitration, which for many years was a clubby process that emphasized comparable benefits all across the state more than any city’s ability to pay.
Emphasis mine. Sound familiar? We can't afford these contracts. Ask your city. Find your state. Say no, vote no.

And then the government needs to get out of the way so we can grow this economy again. P.S. Chicago Sun Times: Hundreds of city workers earned over $10,000 in OT in four months

Related posts: Only the great Barack can save us!!!, The bluer a city, the bluer a state, the fewer private sector jobs it tends to create


Anonymous said...

A good article about the state of my birth. Unfortunately, decades of the unholy alliance between universities, unions, and progressive politicians has completely corrupted the (now) sanctuary state.

I would ask fellow citizens to consider the cesspool of Chicago politics and then give it an area of approximately 95 x 45 miles in which to fester and flourish. That's what beautiful little Rhode Island has become. Folks think it cannot happen in their states across the country. I can point to every state in the union and show you a place where this toxic stew is gaining a foothold.

Vigilance always. Progressives evidently never sleep.

Anne said...

Thanks for your insight.

This is all such a terrible shame. Hopefully we can rescue our country before it's too late.