The end of the June brought the usual confusion and back room dealing in the General Assembly’s closing days, but an important bill was passed without any real public discussion. That bill is H5593 Sub A, which makes all city and town labor contracts valid until a new contract is ratified by the union and the local government. This damages the Council and School Committee’s negotiating position substantially and will, without question, drive up the cost of public labor in cities and towns and, therefore, our property taxes.
I am asking taxpayers and concerned residents around the state to contact the Governor and ask her to veto this legislation.
In the confusion created by the lack of a budget agreement, this bill had been held by the General Assembly since it passed the Senate on June 30. It had passed the House on the previous day. Normally, this sort of bill is sent within a couple of days of passage to the Governor for signature. The bill was transmitted Thursday, July 13. The Governor has six days (not counting Sunday) to sign, or veto the bill. If after the six day period ends (Wednesday) the bill has not been vetoed or signed it becomes law, as long as the General Assembly is still in session. At present, the General Assembly is in recess and not adjourned.
The Governor has indicated that she has problems with this bill, but has made no commitment to veto this legislation.
Please contact Governor Gina Raimondo by one of the following means and urge her to veto this bill:
> Telephone the Office of the Governor at: 401-222-2080
> An on-line email message blank is available at: http://www.governor.ri.gov/contact/
Below is the email message that I sent to the Governor. Please feel free to use it as a guideline in contacting the Governor.
I am writing to ask you to veto House bill 5593 Sub A, the legislation that would provide municipal unions perpetual labor contracts. The Portsmouth Council and School Committee already have great difficulty in resisting what is a substantial growth in labor costs. The public employees of Portsmouth already receive annual salary and benefit increases that are much higher than those paid to the taxpayers.
Larry Fitzmorris is President of the taxpayer advocacy group Portsmouth Concerned Citizens.