A Major Blow to Speaker Fox


Gordon Fox has only been the Speaker of the House since February 11 and just 62 days later, he suffered his first major attack.   In what has been a slam dunk for the last 34 years (according to the Providence Journal), the RI Senate rejected a budget bill that was passed by the RI House.   This was even in spite of many hours of debate and negotiation between the two bodies.

The point of contention is the re-amortization of the state’s pension liability.  In spite of many warnings from credit bureaus, the Governor and even the RI Senate, Speaker Fox and Finance Chairman Steve Constantino went ahead and submitted and passed a bill that would have refinanced the unfunded liability.  The problem is this would have cost the taxpayers an additional $2.2 billion over the next 25 years in exchange for a balanced budget this year.  Yes, in an election year.  Doing the math, that’s an extra $88M that we’d be on the hook for each year for the next 25 years.

We are in a time when cutting $1M items from the budget is a big accomplishment, but Fox and Constantino and many others in the House thought it would be a good idea to add $88M to the bill due each year.

Constantino has already declared himself out of his House seat, as he’s running for Mayor of Providence.  I’m not sure how this type of financial strategy will show him to be the best person to run the capital city.  However, many of the others who voted for this supplemental budget will still be running for office.  This is a time when people need to be yelling from the highest hills in RI about who is causing these troubles, encouraging good people to contend for these seats and educate the voters about why and where their tax dollars are going.

Instead of trying to add to the state’s problems, the House of Representatives should be looking to cut their spending, cut the pension obligations or better yet, get rid of the pensions completely.  Unfortunately, it would take someone with courage to do that.  Unfortunately, we have none of that in our elected leadership.  We only have people who take their orders from the state’s unions.


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