I have posted here many times about my quirky home State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, particularly the union-controlled legislature, deficit-ridden municipalities, and Democratic hegemony:
- Rhode Island Dem Launches “Let’s Scare Grandma” Tour
- Rhode Island Becoming A Sanctuary State
- Unions Rescued In Rhode Island
- In RI, Public Sector Unions Are The State
- Pension System “Choking The State”
- High Taxes And Union Pensions Are Killing Rhode Island. Duh!
Thanks to readers Tom and James for each e-mailing me a link to this article by Steve Malanga, Rhode Island: A Fiscal Mess Few Care About, which pretty nicely sums up the situation:
Though smaller than its neighbors, Rhode Island very much bears the stamp of Northeastern politics and governing. It has the third highest level of public employee unionization in the country, 64 percent, behind New York and Connecticut. Its government is among the top 10 in the nation in per capita spending and in the tax burden it imposes on residents, plus the state has one of the least attractive business environments, according to the Tax Foundation.
Rhode Island’s long-term obligations compare unfavorably with just about any other state, and that’s saying a lot. An evaluation of state finances by the Daily Beast recently ranked Rhode Island the state most likely to go bust because of the combination of its budget deficit, outstanding debt and unfunded pension liabilities relative to economic capacity. Moody’s, which recently issued a report on combined municipal debt and outstanding pension obligations for the states, ranked Rhode Island among the most troubled states on a variety of metrics, including combined liabilities as a percent of GDP and as a percent of state revenues.
While none of this is news to readers of this blog, there was a section of Malanga’s article which was news to me (emphasis mine):
The state’s spendthrift political culture infects its local governments. A recent audit revealed that Rhode Island’s biggest city, Providence, has been spending more than it budgets throughout the recession and depleting its reserve funds in the process, to the point where the city is almost out of cash. Last year alone the city overspent its budget by $13.9 million, bringing its reserve down to just $3.5 million, barely one-tenth of where it should be. The city council has approved borrowing some $48 million this year to cover its deficit.
I don’t think the voters of Providence will attempt to hold the Mayor of Providence during this time period, David Cicilline, responsible for the fact that Providence is almost out of cash. That’s because Cicilline no longer is mayor, and is unlikely to run again.
You see, Rhode Island’s 1st District voters rewarded Cicilline with a promotion. To the United States Congress: