If you want to see one of the greatest escape acts in the history of politics, witness David Cicilline’s election to the United States Congress last November in the 1st Congressional District of Rhode Island.
Cicilline had been Mayor of Providence, and was endorsed not only by almost all the unions but also by The Providence Journal, which wrote (emphasis mine):
“We endorse Providence Mayor David Cicilline in Rhode Island’s First Congressional District to succeed the retiring Patrick Kennedy. His main rival is Republican state Rep. John Loughlin, a pleasant and generally thoughtful conservative and successful businessman.
Mr. Cicilline has been an honest, energetic and often innovative mayor of Rhode Island’s largest city. He has cleansed city government of much of its reputation for corruption and hired capable people, most notably Police Chief Dean Esserman. He has looked for ideas on better governance from cities all over the world. And he has brought a level of fiscal discipline (including in relations with the city’s far too powerful public-employee unions) that has not been seen in the city for many decades.”
That was then, this is now. Now that Providence has a new — and still Democratic — Mayor, the full extent of Providence’s fiscal mess is coming to light.
I already have written about how a projected $56 million budget shortfall caused the new Mayor to send termination notices to every teacher in the Providence School District, and how Cicilline had the chutzpah to lecture the new Mayor on the need to take hard fiscal decisions (none of which were taken by Cicilline).
As bad as we thought it was, it is getting worse, as reported by the Cicilline-endorsing Providence Journal (emphasis mine):
“Although a detailed report of the city’s finances will not be released until Thursday, Mayor Angel Taveras and his staff say Providence is facing a $70 million structural deficit this year and nearly $110 million for the year that begins July 1.
Structural deficits take into consideration what was overspent by city departments, as well as what was borrowed from loans and community’s reserve accounts to cover some of the city’s day-to-day expenses.
A news conference disclosing all of the report’s information will be at 10 a.m. Thursday in City Hall. “
I wonder if Cicilline will be at the press conference, so he can lecture the new Mayor some more about all the hard fiscal decisions which need to be taken to clean up Cicilline’s mess.