Providence Journal columnist Mark Patinkin has been making a lot of sense, lately. Most recently, on “R.I.’s disability-pension gravy train”:
One of the bills, sponsored by Democratic Rep. Robert Craven, a North Kingstown attorney, wants firefighter disability to include not just on-the-job injury, but illness, too — specifically, cardiovascular.
If a firefighter can no longer serve because of hypertension, stroke or heart disease, it would be considered work-related. Automatically.
Bingo — tax-free disability for life.
A second bill, introduced by four reps who are former cops, also makes “illness sustained while in the performance of duty” grounds for disability for police officers.
Companion bills have passed each chamber, meaning that the state House and Senate each has passed an identical version of the bill (H5601 and S0896). If either chamber passes the other chamber’s version, the legislation will go to the governor to be signed.
It’s tempting to say that Rhode Island has crossed some sort of line this year (probably as the jackals put in their conditions for negotiation with Democrat Speaker Nicholas Mattiello, so that he could get the car tax elimination he locked himself into providing), but the reality is that we were already over the line.
As this legislative session has proven, the “reasonable” position in state government isn’t to improve conditions in Rhode Island or to loosen the ropes on residents, but simply to insist on a slower pace for the pilfering of people’s wealth. That may delay the Puerto Rico or Venezuela endgame, but perhaps not by much.