I’ll admit that I’m surprised that Democrat Governor Gina Raimondo vetoed the eternal contracts bill:
In a veto message that echoed the strenuous arguments raised by city and town leaders, Raimondo wrote: “Current Rhode Island law protects the taxpayers from being obligated indefinitely for contract provisions that, in the future, may not be affordable.
“The proposed legislation before me extinguishes this existing protection, hurting the public’s position in contract negotiations, and placing taxpayers at risk of being forever locked into contractual provisions they can no longer afford.”
Raimondo has seemed to me to make decisions on political grounds, and she’s in a precarious enough position that she can’t really afford to push away the teachers’ unions, which have been explicit about not intending to target her next time around. This action could change that.
It’ll be telling to watch the political play. If, for example, the General Assembly overrides the veto and the teachers’ unions (especially the National Education Association – Rhode Island) do nothing more than issue a strongly worded press release against the governor (which is already done), then it would indicate that there’s a political dance going on, meant to give the governor cover with taxpayer advocates and municipal leaders while not harming the unions.
As part of this picture, note that Raimondo “allowed a disability-pension bill that was also championed by organized labor to become law without her signature,” according to Kathy Gregg. Here the calculation is slightly different. She didn’t sign it, thereby providing herself a little cover with taxpayer advocates (being able to say she didn’t “support” it), but she didn’t veto it, saying it was simply a legal codification of existing practice. I think she’ll be proven wrong on that, inasmuch as the law now explicitly allows for work-related physical and mental illnesses to be grounds for a disability pension, but one could see how her calculation would be different.