Our state is in a free fall. We have fallen into the abyss. The people who have brought us here, and their associates, are not the ones who will save us. I do not expect Rhode Island to move forward, not with this current group of elected officials. At this point, I am only asking for a new group to be elected.
For too long, we have sacrificed our future for politics and the election cycle. The good of the majority has been sold for the good of the few. But even those few in charge must realize that, very soon, the ATM will be shut down and even they will come up short financially.
There are hundreds of empty buildings in this state. There are hundreds of public buildings, also throughout this state, which are open but need millions of dollars of repairs and upgrades. These needs are not being addressed by the current leadership team. Our bridges are falling apart statewide. If drastic changes are not implemented immediately, all Rhode Islanders will suiffer for many many years to come.
Pension reform and higher taxes are not the answer. We need reforms. For example, if a business person wants to build or remodel a building, he must deal with at least five state agencies, several of which perform the same functions. After dealing with the Secretary of State and the Dept of Business Regulation, the Coastal Resource Management Council, the Narragansett Bay Commission, DEM, DOT, besides the Building Code Commission, Contractor’s licensing, Commission on Disabilities and more.
Many of these agencies represent duplication of effort and personnel. Who will initiate the “Budget Commission” concept at State level? Even the insiders must know that the money tree will wither away soon. Then what? Will the voting public recognize the financial disaster which we face as a city and a state? We have elected the people who can address our state’s distress.They have failed at this task.
We can no longer afford to elect those who have brought us to this failure, or those associated with them. We can never bring Rhode Island out of the abyss with the same group that put us in the abyss. Someone must initiate cuts at State level. Who will that be? 38 Studio proponents? The state calls for closing of unsafe buildings.Where is the leadership’s plan for Capital Improvements which are desparately needed statewide?
No one will be accountable. But we are broke. Like baseball, take credit if we win. Nobody knows anything when we are broke. Specific areas to cut or that are needed are consolidation, regionalization, reduced administration, reduction in staff sizes, duplication of effort, end of Capitol TV, reallocating resources from the high levels to the ground level for the greater good, term limits, capital improvement plan statewide, fewer fees, more transparency, open decision making and discussion, less bureaucracy
If the political leaders cannot fix the problem, they are part of the problem. We have to face the situation honestly if we are expected to fix anything. They control all of the money. The current leadership of the General Assembly cannot or will not come up with the solution, this includes all of those associated with those leaders.
We have been on cruise control. And, listening to our state leaders, who knows who is reponsible for the desperation? No one accepts responsibility. And we re-elect them and their followers? We must work together, but the cast of players must be changed for progress.
Charlie Tsonos is the out-going Chairman of the School Committee and one-time Democratic candidate for the House District 63 seat.