NEW: Block Blasts Chafee and Raimondo on “Closed Door Deal Making”
Wednesday, February 12, 2014
Statement by Ken Block
"Governor Chafee and Treasurer Raimondo are selling out the taxpayers and state employees to the union bosses. Any retreat from pension reform, achieved in an open and transparent process can only cost taxpayers more and sends the wrong message. Closed door deal making is how Rhode Island ended up in the financial sink hole the state's leaders have put us in.
The mediation appears to be a convenient excuse for union leaders to get what they couldn't get in an open and transparent process. Instead of continuing the process that established the initial pension reform which was approved by the Legislature, Chafee and Raimondo are pandering to the union bosses in closed door deal making. Chafee in return for past political support; Governor-Candidate Raimondo in hopes of future votes.
As Governor I would have declined to take part in this kind of a secret, closed door deal making. The state will be better served if Governor Chafee and Treasurer Raimondo remember who they represent. They should have stood their ground and stand behind the positions they took at the beginning of this process to reform our pension crisis. Any new deal that retreats from the original reform should be rejected by the General Assembly. It is simply wrong for these critically important decisions to be made by partisan lawyers acting in secret with no opportunity for input from the citizens who will be responsible for paying the bill or the retirees whose pensions may be put at renewed risk.
This is the kind of behind-the-curtain deal making that led to the 38 Studios fiasco. Doing it again with pensions could well be even more costly to the taxpayers and to retirees. The simple reality is, the promises by pandering politicians to those counting on pensions in the years to come, will ring hollow when the long term fiscal realities are ignored. Just ask the pensioners in Central Falls and Detroit.
This latest deal is not being worked through the normal, open legislative process or through open court where all citizens can see and hear all the issues and see all the players. This is why Rhode Island is known as the "Who you know State"; a state run by Democrat single party rule with undue influence by union bosses. The results of this ongoing legacy are clearly increasing the financial risk for all citizens.
The path forward is clear. Rhode Island needs new leadership. Principled and strong leadership that will represent all interests fairly and transparently. Leadership that can fix Rhode Island by continuing to reform our pension system, improving government efficiency to lower costs, and improving our business environment to create jobs, and then keep them here. It is time to fix Rhode Island by changing its leadership."
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