Reality strikes again

For Democrats, Rhode Island looks like the place to be: The Governor is an Independent who quit the GOP for being too conservative. The Lieutenant Governor, the state’s Treasurer, both U.S. Senators and both members of the House of Representatives are Democrats, as are 94 of 113 state legislators.

Rhode Island last supported a Republican presidential candidate in the 49-state Reagan landslide of 1984.

But unfunded liability for government employee pensions has grown sevenfold in 16 years to $7 billion, or more than $6,600 for every man, woman and child in the state. This has turned out to be something Rhode Island’s elected Democrats feared even more than the prospect of getting crosswise with their union allies.

So this year the Independent Governor and Democrat Treasurer and 80-plus percent of the Legislature’s Democrats adopted a plan ending cost-of-living increases, boosting the retirement age from 62 to 67, and putting all government employees into a new defined-contribution pension plan.

The unions sued, contending the state has a contractual obligation to pay up under the old status quo.

A court agreeing with the unions’ argument wouldn’t be unprecedented, but look at the bigger picture: No state government has taken more drastic measures to rein in government employee benefits than Rhode Island but we aren’t hearing of its Democrats being driven from office.

Meanwhile Wisconsin’s Governor receives death threats for getting the state budget out of a $3.6 billion hole without layoffs, without increasing taxes and without taking away current retiree benefits. Clearly, there’s no favor a Republican like Scott Walker will be allowed to extend to government unions without having his hand slapped away.

If it weren’t for the “R” after his name, Democrats might be calling him a hero


About Wisconsin Club for Growth
The Club for Growth is a national network of over 40,000 men and women, from all walks of life, who believe that prosperity and opportunity come through economic freedom. Wisconsin Club for Growth, Inc. is dedicated to informing, educating and rallying citizens of Wisconsin to embrace and enact policies that lead to sustained economic growth, limited government, and minimal taxation. Wisconsin Club for Growth can and will have an enormous impact on the direction of our state. Wisconsin Club for Growth believes that effective lobbying is done at all stages of the budget cycle, including when our leaders make public promises and can be encouraged to support policies that spur economic growth. Wisconsin Club for Growth believes we must support pro-growth policies and encourage public officials with backbones to remain truly committed to making our economy and our state stronger. Wisconsin Club for Growth believes our leaders must stand up to the tax and spend mentality in Madison and work tirelessly to cut taxes and unleash the power of the free-market.

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