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Woonsocket teachers’ union raps Baldelli-Hunt for switch on taxes

May 25, 2012

The Woonsocket Teachers Guild has released a statement criticizing state Representative Lisa Baldelli-Hunt for reversing her support for the city’s supplemental tax increase:

The union’s statement is headlined: “Woonsocket Representative Fiddles as Woonsocket’s Schools Crumble.”

“The obvious use of this crisis to make or break political careers by using schoolchildren as pawns rather than coming up with a workable solution is unforgivable”, stated Jeffrey Partington, President of the Woonsocket Teachers’ Guild.  Partington stated, “If Woonsocket’s Representatives don’t like the supplemental tax, I understand, it is painful for the taxpayers.  But if not this then what?   If Representative Baldelli-Hunt cannot vote for the plan, then can we have an alternate plan?  Finding out whodunit is nice, but even after we have identified the guilty, we still need a plan”, Partington added, “Leaders lead in a time of crisis; politicians look to blame someone else.”

The Woonsocket Teachers’ Guild urges Woonsocket’s Representatives to either support the supplemental tax increase as part of the solution or participate in the creation of a workable plan to fund Woonsocket Schools.

Baldelli-Hunt has denied that her position stems from a potential run for mayor. She says her opposition to the tax increase is based, in part, on unanswered questions about Woonsocket’s fiscal crisis.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Mister Guy permalink
    May 25, 2012 9:37 pm

    “Baldelli-Hunt said she does not want Woonsocket to go into bankruptcy and feels that a receiver can help the cash-strapped city avoid that by renegotiating contracts with unions and implementing other cost-saving measures. She added that a receiver is a better option than a budget commission because it is easier for one person to make bold decisions than a five-member board.

    Brien agreed, saying, ‘I think a receiver is ultimately what we need to do.’ He also plans to submit legislation as early as today that would allow Woonsocket to borrow money from its pension fund to bridge its budget deficit. He said that would be a better option than adding an additional tax burden on residents.”

    This is all silly, political nonsense. The legislature setup a process whereby a RI locality can “ease” its way into potential bankruptcy that involves first having a “Fiscal Overseer”, then, if needed, having a “Budget Commission”, then, if needed, going to a “Receiver”.

    By RI law, a “Fiscal Overseer” can approve collective bargaining agreements, so the “renegotiating contracts with unions” line is bogus. The experience in East Providence with a “Budget Commission” shows that the idea that “a receiver is a better option than a budget commission because it is easier for one person to make bold decisions than a five-member board” is also bogus. Again, by RI law, a “Budget Commission” can (in addition to having all of the powers of a “Fiscal Overseer”) approve all municipal spending & borrowing, issue debts like bonds & notes, levy taxes (just like the City of Woonsocket is trying to do right this very second), amend & execute municipal & capital budgets relating to personnel, contracts for goods & services, purchasing, leasing or sale of property, finance or refinance any debt, amend borrowing authorizations, hire, fire, alter compensation & make personnel appointments, and create or suspend any rules & regulations of a municipality. The only real thing that a “Receiver” can do that the other two entities can’t is…surprise, surprise…declare bankruptcy!

    As for borrowing money from Woonsocket’s pension fund, what a novel idea. Borrow money from an already cash-strapped fund (do mostly to past, political inaction by local officials) that the city won’t possibly be able to repay in the future! Now there’s a “real” solution!!

    What these kind of silly moves by local legislators have *everything* to do with is politics…specifically passing the buck to someone else to make the hard & necessary decisions. You made the law of the land RI legislators…now live by it!

  2. Not Ultra Rich permalink
    May 26, 2012 12:22 am

    Funny how nobody mentions the Carcieri/Fox tax cuts for the rich as the cause of the cities distress.

    • Mister Guy permalink
      May 26, 2012 4:20 am

      It’s been mentioned all the time on this website, and I know I’ve mentioned it on here at least several times.

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