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Could Rhode Island Cities Face a Detroit-like Bankruptcy?

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

 

Detroit was recently given the go-ahead to continue with bankruptcy proceedings, making it the largest US city to do so. Could it happen in RI?

With Detroit officially given the green light last week to move forward with bankruptcy proceedings. making it the largest municipality in the country to do so, it raises the question if other cities in Rhode Island could follow suit.  

"It's a real concern -- Detroit isn't Central Falls," said Paul Doughty, head of the Providence firefighters union. "You could argue you can't let anything happen to Detroit, it's too big. But they just did."

URI Distinguished Professor of Business Edward Mazze warned as well that the Motor City's current situation was far from unique. "Detroit's bankruptcy reopens the issue nationally on the protection of municipal worker's pension and health benefits when a city or town has serious financial problems. The Detroit bankruptcy shows that no city, no matter how big or small, can fail and go into bankruptcy if there is poor leadership, little fiscal responsibility, namely, more spending than revenue, and little attention to a focused economic development strategy," said Mazze.

This past weekend, Providence Mayoral Candidate Brett Smiley's appearance on Channel 12's Newsmakers had Smiley acknowedging that the city's financial situation, while improved, was far from out of the woods.  “If we muddle along or accept the status quo, I do think it’s possible that five years from now we could be back talking about bankruptcy," said Smiley.  

Detroit Puts Pensions on the Table

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes ruled last week that despite protections in Michigan's constitution, municipal employee pension contracts there can be compromised -- and cut -- in federal bankruptcy court under Chapter 9 restructuring. While Providence finalized an agreement this past spring with the city's retiree association, police, and firefighters to address the city's unfunded pension liability, legal challenges to both the city -- and state's -- recent pension reforms present an issue still as both municipalities and the state continue to address fiscal obligations.

"In Rhode Island, if the current court recommended negotiations on state pension givebacks including cost of living adjustments results in significant changes to the earlier agreement, and if local cities and towns get no relief in their unfunded pension and health benefits liabilities from state sources, a Chapter 9 bankruptcy filing is an option," said Mazze. "While some Rhode Island cities and town's financial situations are better than a year ago, other cities and towns are struggling to balance their budgets."

Mazze continued, "A Chapter 9 bankruptcy filing has long-term reputation, economic development, taxing, bond rating and local sovereignty implications. Using bankruptcy is an example of poor leadership. Can Chapter 9 bankruptcies happen in the foreseeable future in Rhode Island? Yes, if we continue to have individuals in office with no vision, realistic solutions to problems, no economic plan and suffer no consequences for political promises that make little economic sense."

Lawyer Joe Penza with Olenn and Penza, LLP, who had been involved in Providence's landmark pension reform, thought however that with the recent Detroit examples, more municipalities would view bankruptcy as being a viable turnaround option on the table.

"I think you'll see more and more Chapter 9s filed because it's a fresh beginning, they're stronger out of bankruptcy," said Penza. "The Detroit case now brought to light the very real thing that could have happened here in Providence. Who would have thought Detroit could go bankrupt?"

Nationwide, there have been 38 municipal bankruptcy filings nationwide since 2010, according to Governing.com -- and the "majority of filings have not been submitted by bankrupt cities, but rather lesser-known utility authorities and other narrowly-defined special districts throughout the country," bringing the total of general purpose local government bankruptcy filings to 8 (including Central Falls and Detroit). Three of those however, have been dismissed.

Bankruptcy Changing the Equation?

Both Penza and Doughty said the prospect of bankruptcy -- and uncertainties surrounding what could have happened if filed -- played a major role during the negotiation of the pension agreement in Providence, which is currently facing a lawsuit from at 66 fire and police retirees

"Prior to Central Falls filing for bankruptcy, retirees there asked to meet with me, because these guys were concerned with what they were hearing. There were rumors their pensions were cut in half," said Penza. "I said look, there's no way that the state will let Central Falls go into bankruptcy. And then we saw what happened."

Penza, however, thought that the bankruptcy served to benefit Central Falls. "I think that decision ultimately helped Central Falls, and had an impact on beneficiaries," said Penza. "It was also an awakening though that it could happen in the case of Providence -- I certainly thought about the impact."

Doughty said that it was precisely impact of a potential bankruptcy that concerned him during negotiations with the city -- and that the recent Detroit decision, which could drastically impact municipal employee pensions there, justified the course of action.

The City of Providence agreement with retirees, fire, and police, which capped all pensions at either 150 percent the state median income or less than the salary of the current employee in the position -- and cut COLAs for ten years -- according to the City saved Providence $18.5 million in FY13 and reduces the City's unfunded pension liability by about $170 million.

"This redeems the position that leadership took -- we didn't know what could happen, so we took hold of our own future," said Doughty. "Some people who opposed it thought bankruptcy couldn't have happened, and we know now it can. I worry because this problem is so wide-spread, and local judges decide it -- it's going to require that they say that yes, pensions can be touched."

Doughty thinks that the changes made through the agreement will help keep the city viable -- and out of any potential bankruptcy scare now, "save for a catastrophic national downturn." However, Doughty saw other Rhode Island municipalities as facing uncertain futures.

"Both Woonsocket and West Warwick are going to have significant trouble over the next year," he said. "If bankruptcy could happen in Detroit, it could happen anywhere."

Taking on OPEBs, Pensions

Cumberland Mayor Dan McKee spoke with GoLocal about efforts the city was undertaking to work to address its pension obligations, after being granted "critical status" by the state for the town's funding levels.

"The way I looked at it, was we needed to get "x+y" to get to "z" -- meaning the OPEB ARC (annual retired contribution), and pension ARC -- had to get to Z, meaning where it needs to be," said McKee, acknowledging that the town needed to address its "other post-employment benefit" obligations in addition to municipal pensions.

"So it didn't matter to me how to get to Z. In order to keep that equation balanced, if the police wanted something on the pension side, it had to be addressed on the OPEB side, again to get to Z. It was a true negotiation, and we see a path to be successful," he continued.

McKee addressed that the negotiations were "protracted" as the town worked with police. "My thought was to keep the promises made, and reset going forward with the [Cumberland] Police Department, to their credit. They did vote in 26-12 to approve the conditions. You have those pushing back, but it's a strong level of support," noting that the Cumberland Town Council was voting on the proposed changes on Monday.

"On the health insurance, which is two-thirds of the issue we're dealing with in terms of exposure -- we aligned a HSA with a $2K/$4K deductible, which is consistent with what we previously set for fire and municipal workers," said McKee. "We'll reimburse 50% of the deductible for current [police], new officers will be responsible for the 100%."

Among the changes proposed, McKee noted, "The new hires will need to have 25 years of service -- as opposed to 20, and can begin to collect pension at 50. We'll do a career average, as opposed to the current look at just the last years, and there's an increase in their contribution as well."

The changes would make the OPEB -- and pension - ARCS then sustainable for the town, said McKee. "We start at a $2M ARC on pensions, could grow to $3M, and then we'll see a decrease. Similarly, the ARC on health care is $1.5 M then up to $2.5M, and then it drops considerably as well."

Overall, McKee said he thought it was a "give and take" between the negotiating team for the police department. "I've said all along that it's manageable, we're not impacting our retired officers, we're pretty much providing what was agreed," said McKee, who acknowledged that for future hires, "It's a strong reset for new guys." 


Related Slideshow:
Timeline - Rhode Island Pension Reform

GoLocalProv breaks down the sequence of events that have played out during Rhode Island's State Employee Pension Fund reform. 

Prev Next

2005-2010

In the five years before Raimondo was elected, pension changes included a decrease in established retirement age from 65 to 62, increased eligibility to retire, and modified COLA adjustments.
 
Read the Senate Fiscal Office's Brief here.
 
(Photo: 401(k) 2013, Flickr)
Prev Next

January 2009

Governor Don Carcieri makes pension reform a top priority in his emergency budget plan. His three-point plan included:

1. An established minimum retirment age of 59 for all state and municipal employees.

2. Elimination of cost-of-living increases.

3. Conversion of new hires into a 401(k) style plan.

 

See WPRI's coverage of Carcieri's proposal here.

Prev Next

2009

Rhode Island increased mandatory employee contributions for new and current employees. New Mexico was the only other state to mandate current employees to increase their contributions. 

 

Read the NCSL report here

(Photo: FutUndBeidl, Flickr)

Prev Next

2010

Rhode Island's state administered public employee pension system only held 48% of the assets to cover future payments to its emplyees.

"This system as designed today is fundamentally unsustainable, and it is in your best interest to fix it" - Gina Raimondo

 

Check out Wall Street Journal's coverage here.

Prev Next

November 2010

Gina Raimondo defeats opponent Kernan King in the election for General Treasurer of Rhode Island using her platform to reform the structure of Rhode Island's public employee pension system. She received 201,625 votes, more than any other politician on the 2010 Rhode Island ballot. 

Prev Next

April 2011

Raimondo leads effort to reduce the state’s assumed rate of return on pension investments from 8.25 to 7.5%.

Her proposal includes plans to suspend the Cost of Living Adjustment (which allows for raises corresponding with rates of inflation for retirees), changing the retirement age to match Social Security ages, and adding a defined contribution plan.

Prev Next

May 2011

Raimondo releases “Truth in Numbers”, a report detailing the pension crisis and offering possible solutions. She continues to work to raise public support for her proposal.

"Decades of ignoring actuarial assumptions led to lower taxpayer & employee contributions being made into the system." - Gina Raimondo (Truth in Numbers)

 

Read GoLocalProv's analysis of the report here.

Read the Truth in Numbers report here

Prev Next

October 2011

Governor Lincoln Chafee and General Treasurer Gina Raimondo present their pension reform legislation proposal before a joint session of the General Assembly.

“Our fundamental goal throughout this process has been to provide retirement security through reforms that are fair to the three main interested parties: retirees, current employees and the taxpayer…I join the General Treasurer in urging the General Assembly to take decisive action and adopt these reforms.”- Gov. Lincoln Chafee

Prev Next

October 2011

Head of Rhode Island firefighters’ union accuses Raimondo of “cooking the books” to create a pension problem where one did not exist. Paul Valletta Jr. states that Raimondo raised Rhode Islanders’ assumed mortality rate to increase liability to the state, using data from 1994 instead of updated information from 2008, and lowered the anticipated rate of return on state investments.

“You’re going after the retirees! In this economic time, how could you possibly take a pension away?” Paul Valletta Jr (Head of RI Firefighters' Union)

Read more from the firefighters' battle with Raimondo here.

Check out the New York Times' take on RI's  pension crisis here.

Prev Next

November 17, 2011

The Rhode Island Retirement Security Act (RIRSA) is enacted by the General Assembly with bipartisan support in both chambers. RIRSA’s passing is slated to reduce the unfunded liability of RI’s pension system and increase its funding status by $3 billion and 60% respectively, level contributions to the pension system by taxpayers, save municipalities $100 million through lessened contributions to teacher and MERS pension systems, and lower the cost of borrowing.

 

Read more from GoLocalProv here.

Prev Next

November 18, 2011

Governor Lincoln Chafee signs RIRSA into law. According to a December 2011 Brown University poll, 60% of Rhode Island residents support the reform. Following its enactment, Raimondo holds regional sessions to educate public employees on the effects of the legislation on their retirement benefits.

 

Read about how Rhode Islanders react to RIRSA here.

Prev Next

January 2012

Raimondo hosts local workshops to explain the pension reforms across Rhode Island. She also receives national attention for her contributions to the state’s pension reforms.  The reforms are given praise and many believe Rhode Island will serve as a template for other States’ future pension reforms.

 

Read about the pension workshop here.

Read Raimondo's feature in Institutional Investor here

Prev Next

March - April 2012

Raimondo opposes Governor Chafee’s proposal to cut pension-funded deposits. She continued to provide workshops on the pension reforms.

“The present law is sound fiscal policy and should remain unchanged.” -George Nee (Rhode Island AFL-CIO President)
 
 
See WPRI's coverage of Chafee's attempt to cut pension fund deposits here.
Prev Next

December 5, 2012

Raimondo publicly opposes Governor Chafee’s meetings with union leaders in an effort to avoid judicial rulings on the pension reform package.  In response, Chafee issues a statement supporting the negotiations.

 

Read more about Raimondo's opposition here.

Read about Chafee's statement here

Prev Next

March 2013

Led by the Rhode Island State Association of Fire Fighters, unions protest the 2011 pension reform outside of the Omni Providence where Governor Lincoln Chafee and General Treasurer Gina Raimondo conduct a national conference of bond investors.

 

Read about Raimondo's discussion of distressed municipalities here

Prev Next

April 2013

The pension plan comes under increased scrutiny as a result of the involvement of hedge funds and private equity firms. Reports show that $200 million of the state pension fund was lost in 2012.

"In short, impressive educational credentials and limited knowledge of investment industry realities made Raimondo ideally suited to champion private equity’s public pension money grab." - Ted Seidle (Forbes)

 

Read GoLocalProv's coverage of the State Pension Fund's losses here

Read Ted Seidle's criticism of Raimondo in Forbes.

Prev Next

June 2013

Reports show that the State’s retirement system increased in 2013 by $20 million despite the reforms being put into effect the previous year.

 

Read GoLocalProv's investigation into the rising pension costs here.

Prev Next

September 2013

Matt Taibbi publishes an article in Rolling Stone detailing Raimondo’s use of hedge funds as a questionably ethical tool to aid with pension reform. 

Read Taibbi's article in Rolling Stone.

Read GoLocalProv's response to Taibbi here.

Prev Next

October 2013

As Raimondo eyes the role of Governor of Rhode Island in 2014, more behind-the-curtain information about the 2011 pension reform comes to light.

 

Read more from GoLocalProv about the players in the pension battle here.

 
 

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Comments:

Art West

Great article.

The bigger question is: Could the USA face a Detroit-like bankruptcy?

With $17 trillion in national debt, entitlement programs in debt, a huge new healthcare entitlement program set to consume huge chunks of the budget and big-spending socialists in power, the answer is staring us in the face.

The federal government's answer is a false one -- printing more and more money to obscure the problem and creating a fantasy economy that can indeed lead to collapse or runaway inflation.

Killary Klinton

Let's see - the common denominator is easy to find.

Decades of DEMOCRATS in charge!

Wow, that was so hard to figure out.

Detroit, meet Rhode Island. Rhode Island, this is your future!

KK

Remember Benghazi 2012 when Obama and Clinton bold face lied to the country and blamed a YouTube video for the death of four Americans.

Gary Arnold

"if we continue to have individuals in office with no vision, realistic solutions to problems, no economic plan and suffer no consequences for political promises that make little economic sense."
Sums up RI's problem.
Now to change this is to elect competent people that know finance, planning and can articulate a vision that reflects what RI needs to do to survive first, grow second, flourish third.
If any potential candidate has affiliation with unions, they can not be considered, history has shown us that.
Voters need to get involved or have a champion that will bring sanity to the governing body we call the GA.

Jonathan Bainsworth

Another day and more insipid Tea Party ranting focusing on unions. meanwhile all the money continues being sucked to the top 1%. I understand how the complexities of the rigged system that is Wall Street are too difficult for the Tea Party shills to comprehend so they go after the average Joe's pension instead. If you think there is no connection between Main Street and Wall Street then you really need to reassess your worthiness to comment on economic issues. And the yachts sailed off into the sunset...sad and pathetic.

Gary Arnold

Another day with delusional opinions and trying to deflect the issue at hand in RI with more blaming someone or something else as the problem.
RI is in the pits, 75 years of Unionized Democratic control got us here. Yes the Wall Street and Main Street have plenty of problems but it's RI that we are focusing on, don't ya think.
As far as the top 1% go, they can take care of themselves and Obama will take care of the rest of us, however, his way of doing that is going to cost us ALL, yes Obama is a shining light as the train comes down the tunnel to wipe us all out financially.

JOJO MONKEY

YES!!!THE BOTTOM WILL FALL OUT VERY SOON...ESPECIALLY IN PROVIDENCE !
BETWEEN THE UNREALISTIC,GENEROUS PENSION PACKAGES, OUTRAGEOUS CITY EMPLOYEE SALARIES,AND THE DEMOCRAT'S VOTER INITIATIVE ENTITLEMENT PROGRAMS FOR ILLEGALS ARE ALL IN THE MIX OF A DISASTROUS RECIPE THAT IS GOING TO DESTROY PROVIDENCE AND EVENTUALLY TAKE DOWN THE REST OF THE STATE. PEOPLE WHO OWN PROPERTY AND RUN SMALL BUSINESSES IN PROVIDENCE THAT KEEP VOTING IN THOSE PROGRESSIVE LIBERAL DEMOCRATS ARE CUTTING THEIR OWN THROATS AND SOON THERE WILL BE NOTHING.

michael riley

The answer to the headline question is yes.There were two paths taken to reform. One by Treasurer Raimondo and the alternate path taken by the city of Providence.Clearly one set of reforms has stabilized the situation and has solutions that are real and lasting. The other reform was too political, lacked hard choices and is ineffective. Any serious review of the financial condition of Rhode Island cities and towns, five years into recovery, should concern all Rhode Islanders and all Gubernatorial Candidates.

David Beagle

Michigan has a republican governor. Governor Snyder helped steer Detroit into life saving bankruptcy. Rhode Island has no such balance. Democrats here appear content to do what it take to get re-elected, and let the distressed municipalities fall one by one.

James Berling

Although the voters in RI are famously uninformed, I trust them more than I trust the General Assembly.

Let’s call a Constitutional Convention in RI. Let’s make the General Assembly less powerful and give more power to the office of Governor. A Governor is more conspicuous and and would have to be more responsive to the people. It’s too easy for a member of the GA to hide in the pack, accept the bribes and vote irresponsibly.

Let’s also bring Voter Initiative to RI so that the people can collect enough signatures to put a proposition on the ballot. That could break the stranglehold the GA has on democracy in this state. Then solutions to our problems could emanate from the grassroots.

Caroline Evans

The Democratic Party and the unions in RI are one and the same collective. The Democratic Party apparatus is just a hireling of the unions.

For the past half century the unions have just taken what they wanted and put on the theater of sham negotiations. Ask twice what you want, pretend to compromise and get exactly what was really wanted.

If the taxpayers squirmed, it was taken to always-union-friendly arbitration and the unions get exactly what they want.

They short-circuited the "consent of the governed" part of the taxation equation. They made promises to themselves and to their clueless rank-and-file who foolishly believed in the leprechauns and the pots of gold that would be needed to follow through on the promises.

As a result, a giant ponzi scheme is in place rather than a retirement system.

It is a sad tragedy for the duller-witted union members who got hosed on this scam that the paid leadership knew all along was a scam that was guaranteed to crash-and-burn absent a shower of golden meteors from the heavens.

Now the foolish, unlucky and crooked get to harvest misery.

Bankruptcy is just a legal filing the recognizes insolvency.

RI has been insolvent for decades and has been getting payday-loans to make its rent-a-center payments the whole time.

Bankruptcy is the best option as it allows for an orderly dissolution of that which needs to be dissolved.

Howard Miller

could face a Detriot like bankruptcyi thought we were already there

john paycheck

it has been absolutely amazing to hear fellow rhode islanders talk about the future of ri over the last year

-many are leaving
-many are encouraging their educated children to leave
-people talk about the only decent jobs are from traveling to boston
-there is no opportunity for good jobs
-municipal insolvency
-all the big companies are gone
-who is going to be left
-the population isn't growing
-the population is getting older and less educated
and worst of all, a government that really doesn't understand or care.

there is no real solution - you can't get companies to relocate here because there are not enough qualified workers-too many have left

when a company considers a move to ri - employees are faced with high taxes, crime, poor education system, so they stay where they are or find somewhere else.

when you look at much of what the state has to offer - colleges, the beaches, close to boston, close to nyc, close to ski resorts, right between Connecticut and boston, culture, etc - it should be booming.

I cant see how it can break this downward fall.

Katy Sloop

Whenever taxpayers complain about being burdened with high taxes and looming bailouts of bloated public union pension plans, the left says it's "Just Tea Party Ranting." It's not. It's just regular, hardworking taxpayers who are just fed up. If that's what the Tea Party is all about then fine....half of RI must be in the Tea Party. The next election will be very interesting, and not easy on the left, because so many of their lies have been exposed in the past 8 years.

Redd Ratt

The editor that penned the title should google Central Falls. It already happened and is likely to happen again.

Odd Job

I do my little bit to starve the union looters:

1)Keep exterior of home dumpy. I have nearly the lowest assessed value in my area. Learned they do that in France.
2)My car is worth less than $2k so my car tax bill is negligible or nothing (don't recall)
3) I buy everything possible online (from Amazon Prime mostly) to avoid sales tax.

Jonathan Bainsworth

Reality check: nobody is leaving Rhode Island. Rhode Island is one of the most beautiful states in the country and you should wake up every morning and kiss the ground here. Yes, Mississippi is more business friendly than us but who on earth would want to live in that festering rathole. As for the selfish greedy few who never want to pay any taxes and keep threatening to leave, I say please don't the let the door hit you in the rear on the way out. Also, you make my commute much easier. Take as many family members with you as possible. Also, keep in mind that most of the Tax organizations that rank us are shill entities funded by Wall Street. Gina Raimondo is owned by Ex Enron trader and Texas billionaire John Arnold who wants all public pensions to be handed over to Hedge Fund managers. You foolishly apply your free market analysis to a rigged system which renders your results futile. Essentially, it's analogous to trying to balance your checkbook while the funds are being sucked away by an identity thief who has accessed your account. The middle class in this country and Rhode Island in particular,have been decimated by deregulation and bad trade deals which sucked manufacturing jobs overseas. The strength of the middle class always relied on two variables: strong unions and taxing the heck out of the wealthy. Let's stop fighting over the scraps that trickle out of the wealthy's mouths. Those at the top are never going to share the wealth they stole buy buying politicians and rigging the system with tax loopholes and tax shelters. We have to just take it from them by changing the rules and
taxing, taxing and more taxing..until they really just pack up and move to a country that best represents their idea of a free and thriving economy....China. Don't forget your smog masks. The air is unbreathable.

Howard Miller

Johnathan
now stop being illusive and ell us how you really feel

Redd Ratt

Hey Bainsworth, Stick this in your pipe and smoke it. Might smarten you up.





http://www.foxprovidence.com/news/local/ri-population-drops

Jonathan Bainsworth

Redd, better yet....stop drinking the Fox News Kool Aid while at the same time trying not to let the facts get in the way of your argument.
According to United Van Lines 2012 migration study which, I think most would agree is a more objective and unbiased analysis of migration patterns, Rhode Island is in balance and has gained approximately the same number of residents as those who left.

http://www.unitedvanlines.com/mover/united-newsroom/press-releases/2013/2012-united-van-lines-migration-study.htm

Caroline Evans

Pretty pathetic when someone has to search out a moving company for migration patterns... and imagines it is some superior source of info.

Seems pretty obvious they only track the people who are coasting along comfy enough to hire people to pack and move them via one of the moire expensive national firms with a huge and expensive admin and advertising overhead to carry.

Those exiting RI use a U-Haul and move it themselves since there are precious few left in RI who would or could afford to pay movers in order to escape the place.

They are not leaving because they are sneaking out with all the gold bars they earned here.... they are leaving because the place is a corrupt dump run by 4th raters with delusions of genius.. per the 38 Studios boondoggle.

No amount of empty blowhard noise will convince any successful company to move to RI.. and the few. like CVS, who are still headquartered there are moving ops to other states.. like Maine.

It is pretty hilarious.. always hilarious to read the smug know-it-all attitudes out of clowns who swallow whole the bilge slopped out by the three "usual networks" and then bellyache about Fox.

It is truly, truly, truly a riot to see the "kool Aid" phrase.... by people who are drinking the stuff themselves but served up by another kid sitting behind a different cardboard box.

Somehow these clueless goobers reckon the bug juice they are used to swilling down is superior.

Redd Ratt

Johnathon, The #'s are from the U.S. census bureau. Here's another source. Typical to blame the liberals failings on the messenger.


http://boston.com/news/local/rhode-island/2013/01/06/sees-unprecedented-population-drop-since/l6IoSHWJIse1gPQ3WBjkUM/story.html

john paycheck

bainsworth...nobody is leaving ri??? pick a day and drive up 95 towards boston. take a look at all the ri cars driving to boston every morning. just look around our own neighborhood and see your neighbors that travel to mass for work.

you must be one of those people that believes we are all better off than 5 years ago when barry Obama started.

lesson 2 will be - who is leaving ri and who is moving to ri.....

Caroline Evans

Oh.. and as an aside... .the United Van lines study is headlined:

UNITED VAN LINES 2012 MIGRATION STUDY REVEALS NORTHEASTERN U.S. EXODUS

You know.... it is ever the case that the smug clowns who are forever with the ridiculous "Faux News" meme... and "drinking Fox News Kool Aid" remarks to offer. ... are the very ones whose views fail the slightest objective examination.

It is so often the half-truth with these clods.... that and a smug know-it-all attitude that is supposed to intimidate the 'listener' into being too scared to check the facts.

Half-truths are among the lowest forms of intellectual dishonesty... and they are also the chosen tools of middle school kids who figure they have found a way to undetectably twit their elders.... they REALLY think they have an 'out' when they get caught in the half-truth-fueled lie.

Redd Ratt

10' Uhaul box truck; Providence to Dallas $1,903

10' Uhaul box truck; Dallas to Providence $872

Uhaul is basically paying you a $1,000 to drive the truck up to Providence for them. Liberals, always math impaired.

Killary Klinton

The only population growth in RI is more parasites, sucking on the government teat.

KK

Remember Benghazi when Obama and Clinton blamed a YouTube video for the death of four Americans.

Jonathan Bainsworth

Once again, no one is leaving Rhode Island. However, I would encourage the scant few Tea Baggers to leave their mom's basement, pack up and head south to Mississippi where their GED's will carry more weight. Rhode Island is one of the most beautiful states in the country. It's ocean front property and of course it costs more to live here. I'm tired of hearing some anecdotal evidence about someone's grumpy uncle who is threatening to leave because his tax bill arrived and he's to cheap to pay for public services he uses. People on this site need to take a course in statistics. And please do a little research into groups like the Tax Foundation that ranks us and you will find a Republican Wall Street Koch Bros.funded agenda which renders these rankings useless. And finally, for those who believe businessman from the private sector can run things better I give you CEO George W bush who brought us to the brink of another great depression and CEO and businessman Teflon Don Carcieri who hatched the brilliant Studio 38 deal which costs Rhode Island over one hundred million dollars.

Caroline Evans

It is truly funny to see pre-adolecent mentality on display so clearly in the barely-readable blocks of ranted out half-truths and outright lies.

Seems the Census Bureau is working from "anecdotal tales" now.

Patrick Boyd

Jonathan, I'll say it again, nothing, NOTHING would have happened regarding 38 Studios had the DEMOCRATICALLY controlled General Assembly not approved the additional $75 million that was needed to get 38 Studios here. Gordon Fox knew what the money was for as did Paiva Weed. You'd be crazy to believe otherwise, but you've already proven yourself to be exactly that!

Killary Klinton

Jonathan got a lot of the Organizing for Obama talking points in on one long winded post! Congrats.

Your king will be proud.

KK

Remember Benghazi 2012 when four Americans died and Obama obfuscated and told their families it was a YouTube video that caused their deaths.

joe pregiato

Hey Bainsworth...you're outnumbered 20 to 1.

joe pregiato

Redd, Good article from the US Census bureau. Do you think Bainsworth will do a 180 if he reads it, instead of the Moving Truck Co.?

Redd Ratt

Joe, you can't fix stupid.

Jonathan Bainsworth

Forbes magazine (not exactly a liberal publication) is the one that cites the United Van Lines study. It lists the top ten states people are migrating to and the top ten states people are fleeing from. While it does state that there is a mass exodus from the Northeast, unfortunately for you Rhode Island bashers, Rhode Island is not one of the states listed. Once again, nobody is leaving Rhode Island. Also, the General Assembly could never have approved a deal that never existed and the only reason it existed is because of the incompetence of businessman /CEO and Republican Teflon Don Carcieri. So while I may be outnumbered 20 to 1, I have truth on my side which trumps quantitative ignorance.


http://www.forbes.com/sites/jennagoudreau/2013/02/07/the-states-people-are-fleeing-in-2013/

Caroline Evans

It is truly amazing how someone who has transparently been shown to be full of it.. still thinks he can pretend he won.

This reminds me of a little meme I read elsewhere... but it applies here:

"Arguing with (fill-in-the-blank) is like playing chess with a pigeon.
No matter how good you are at chess, the pigeon will just knock over the pieces, poop on the board and then strut around like they won."

So it is with our little screed-poster in .... he has nothing.. absolutely nothing going for him in this discussion.

He made a fool of himself by spewing forth a foregone conclusion he favored but had not researched. It turns out he is wrong... and now he is scratching about trying to pretend he was really right all along.

This demonstrates the typical intellectually dishonest person.
He figures he can just make up facts and if he states them with enough vehemence and seeming-certainty they will be taken as truths by his audience.

He truly thinks he can create reality by the force of his will or the hurricane force of his blowhard-ing.

The silly goofball is wrong... and the facts are contrary to his assertions.

He does not even know how to bail himself out of the mis-statement.... and it is not lost on the neutral reader that he can be disregarded in any honest discussion.

He is a petulant child in fact if not in age.

Jonathan Bainsworth

Absolutely hilarious post Caroline...you made my evening. The problem with your perverted logic is that it fails to address any of my assertions which are based on facts (your mortal enemy). You also fail to acknowledge the major blind spot that you and your ilk possess and that is your inability to see the forest for the trees. You are like a fire marshall who lectures the little child ( in this case, someone in a union or with a pension) who lit a match (while there is an arsonist (Wall Street) pouring gas all around you. Do you think it's just coincidence that all the cities and states pension became problematic on the heels of the 2008 crash that CEO and businessman George W Bush created? Caroline you must know that if you keep drinking the Fox News Kool Aid you will never leave the bubble of ignorance in which you dwell. The Walton family's collective wealth is equal to the bottom 40% of the country and 95% of economic gains since W crashed the economy in 2008 have gone to the top 1%. Caroline, the system is rigged and you cannot apply free market economic analysis to a market that is not free. The banks that gambled with your money crashing the economy in 2008 are now 30% bigger and still making the same risky bets that brought the economy to its knees. So when it happens again and your money gets sucked to the top to bail them out you will foolishly continue to blame unions, welfare recipients and illegal immigrants for causing our economic woes. Can't you see Caroline, my poor little ignorant child, that you are being used. They want you fight over the scraps they leave. They depend on your ignorance of how credit default swaps, derivatives and other complex financial instruments work to rig the system. Meanwhile they are laughing at you...on golf courses, yachts and in their mansions.

Caroline Evans

And now we see the poor idiot defacto-child raving on with the equivalent of "I know you are, bur what am I?"

Remember the comic book series Classics Illustrated? They took classic novels and abridged them into comic book form.

This poor clod has not even absorbed the Classice Illustrated version of economics... he has heard rumors of the Cliff Notes about Classics Illustrated comics.

And the dip thinks he is in a position to lecture others.

This clown thinks he can lecture a 25+ year tax and legal pro... who started out her adult career in a federal law enforcement role where she commanded combined fed/state/local ops in an area covering three states.. and who exercised federal authority from the gubernatorial level on down to the newest rookie patrolman.

The poor silly raver cannot even figure out how to make his ill-informed rants readable by the simple use of the "Enter" key.

You know what an alternate name for the Enter key is?
It is also called the "New line" key.. you know... for when you want to start a new line or insert a line between paragraphs.

Of course.... we are seeing the written version of his thought processes... crazed, run on, stream of consciousness babble... flitting all over the place.

He obviously has no idea what the words he types really mean... he obviously has no depth of understanding... just xeroxed phrases he heard in some peer-group coffee-klatsch.... repeated without understanding.

mark malachi

Doughty and Penza justifying their sellout of the FFs and retirees.
Doughty was made a Chief,as in jumped rank from Pvt.to Chief,and it remains to be seen what Penza's reward will be.

mark malachi

8 municipal bankruptcy filings since 2010 and 3 have been dismissed leaving 5 actual bankruptcy filings,among the thousands of cities and towns in the US, despite the financial meltdown of 2008.

If it wasn't for Flanders ego,dictatorial attitude,and greed,CF could have probably reorganized w/o bankruptcy.

Let's get a grip.RI isn't in the toilet yet.

Remain calm,fall back and re-group,and go back into battle.
Stop waiving the white flag and the negativity ,the defeatist attitude,and the fingerpointing.

mark malachi

Prov.pensions were not reduced.The 18.5 M in COLAs are still being pd.
In 2013 ,the City saved whatever the increase from $18.5M would have been if the retirees received a COLA,probably less than $3M.
The City then used its magic number calculator to project a $170M reduction in the pension unfunded liability.
The City is suing its former actuary Buck because it miscalculated the savings the pension deal would yield.
Where's the truth ? Does anyone really know?
I mean REALLY know,not just pretend to know?

mark malachi

Prov.pensions were not reduced.The 18.5 M in COLAs are still being pd.
In 2013 ,the City saved whatever the increase from $18.5M would have been if the retirees received a COLA,probably less than $3M.
The City then used its magic number calculator to project a $170M reduction in the pension unfunded liability.q
The City is suing its former actuary Buck because it miscalculated the savings the pension deal would yield.
Where's the truth ? Does anyone really know?
I mean REALLY know,not just pretend to know?

Jonathan Bainsworth

Caroline methinks you protest too much. I don't judge you by your typos (bur instead of but) so why fret over my indentation. My point of view only seems like stream of consciousness babble because of your limited intellectual capacity. I am reminded of Plato's allegory of the cave. I have left the cave and walk in the sunlight while you are still chained within the cave looking at the shadows on the walls. When I come back into the cave to explain to you that there is a whole reality that exists outside in the sun, of course you will think I am crazy and interpret my fundings as babble and nonsense. But this is only because you live in the shadows. As for your banal, insipid recitation of your credentials I leave you with this thought. George W bush went to Yale, owned a baseball team, became governor and eventually president and yet with such an impressive resume remains an incredible moron.

Caroline Evans

Bainsworth is working real hard to pass for an intellect and failing.

The unsustainable nature of the leprechaun-old-powered pension system the unions dreamed up for themselves is obvious.

They rammed through these provisions thinking they were beating the system by using hireling politicians.

They can rant and rave about evil this-that-or-the-other-thing all they want.. but they brought it on themselves... it was a combo of fools and crooks and doofi with wishful thinking disorders that brought this to pass.

We can read the idiotic pseudo-intellectual rantings of slef-important dopes like Bainsworth and see the mentality exhibited.

Stupid, out of touch, way over their heads... they think they can fake being intelligent and end up only bluffing themselves.

He is faced by peopel who are smarter, mpor experienced than he is.. and who have actual credentials to have avalid opinion. He disregards them and fires up middle school invective.. insgead of learning.

This is why people are leaving Rhode Island.. this is why successful, well run companies will not settle in from elsewhere.

Bainsworth is representative of the arrogant nincompoop class that dominates RI's "leadership elite".

No competently run company will tolerate such foolishness when so many other places exist in which to locate.

Caroline Evans

Rhode Island has an ever dwindling employment base.

For decades the state relied upon "free money" flowing in from the rest of the country courtesy of one of the largest concentrations of US Naval bases.

The state, its unions and its leadership got"fat, dumb and happy". You do not have to be all that business savvy to collect some cash flow from outsiders who are stuck here and need things.

You just have to be a merchant who knows where to buy things wholesale, double the price and resell it. You pay rent and wages and keep the rest.

The black market of gambling and hookers flourishes the same way. The Mafia grew strong and flourished under Raymond Patriarca Sr. Bad as is the Mafia, Patriarca kept a lid on the black market and it also depended on Navy money to do well.

The Navy was the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow... it was a source of golden meteors that fell from the sky.

RI is still mired in a culture the depends upon freebees from elsewhere to work. An actual businesslike mentality.. a sense of reality.. has yet to penetrate its collective skull.

RI just plain does not know how to prosper unless they have free money from someplace else to plunder... .and plunder is the word.



The state still has not gotten over the loss of this free ride courtesy of the taxpayers in the entire rest of the nation.

This shifty

Jonathan Bainsworth

What's most frustrating about reading these comments bashing Rhode Island and calling it unfriendly to business is best summed by my recent attempt to have lunch. Heading over to Whole Foods I found myself unable to procure a parking space due to the overwhelming number of patrons in the store. I then decided to head to Hot Pockets on Thayer Street for a falafel pocket. To my surprise, the line was out the door which I do recall is very common there. I did manage to get my falafel however before heading to the Wildflour bakery on Hope to grab a coffee, only to find another line to the door. I also noticed that the Garden Grille next door which is owned by the same person was packed. The owner just opened up another restaurant on Broadway called the Grange. I wanted to track down the managers of these establishments and ask if they knew how unfriendly Rhode Island was to businesses but they were to busy and I had to get back to work. Caroline, you need to go into some of Rhode Island's thriving businesses and call them out for thriving in an anti business state.

Caroline Evans

You ca n hardly call these two examples proof of a strong economy.

They serve the Brown University community on the east side of Providence. This, again, is money brought in from outside the sate.. and the "more money than brains" crowd beside.

Grocery stores work on the tiniest of margins and are always teetering on the brink. A felafel shop is a fast food operation... with a huge profit margin.. on an incredibly tiny dollar volume of business.

Does anyone in RI have ANY idea what actual business is?

You have to actually DO something... produce something... of real value to a large market.

Providing over-priced staples to Boston-commuters and collegians on the east side is not a powerful business environment.

All of this happy-talk nonsense is why RI is insolvent and why no company of any strength or competence locates there.

People REALLY think all they have to do is BS convincingly enough and some rich fools will come to believe the hype and shower wealth upon them.

We notice that Bank Of America departed downtown Providence... and they are among the most hardcore, sharp practices operations around... but they are not stupid... they know a loser when they see one... and they left town.

The same with no small number of other large employers.... they are not flocking to RI... they are leaving as soon as practicable.

They see the insane boondoggles that were emplaced in the past.. and which now are crashing in burning left and right.

They see silly space cadets who think a lot of vacuous happy-talk will fix it all. Just pretend all is well and it will fix itself.. is the dominant mentality.... just like they see in scripted dramas.

Caroline Evans

As an aside... we gotta laugh at Bainsworth's ridiculous notions of "proof" of a business-friendly environment.

But his writings here do serve a valuable purpose.. but not the one he supposes.

This kind of squirrel-think is just so typical of the evasive-thinking that so typifies the people who are "in the way" when it comes to any kind of economic recovery in RI.

They rave on in insane bombast the drives away sensible people from elsewhere. The corrupt mentality that infects so many RI'ers is invisible to them but obvious to outsiders.

The two-bit-con that Bainsworth is trying in this discussion is so typical.... transparent BS offered up as if true... can be easily seen by outsiders.

RI is like a town with a sewer plant that leaks into the streets for generation after generation. The smell of sewage is always in the air. Soon the population is so used to the smell they recoil from the scent of fresh air.

So it is in RI.. the central metro area in particular.. is people neck deep in the sewage of corruption and arrogant-ignorance.. and they cannot recognize it as the nasty thing that it is.

Outsiders, though, raised in the fresh air, can smell the stench from far away.




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