Governor Chafee, testifying before the Senate Finance Committee, made his plea for his legislative package aimed at helping cities and towns stave off the impacts of the sustained recession and steep state cuts by his predecessor to local municipalities.
The legislation would allow the cities hit hardest by these untimely events and actions – Providence, Pawtucket, Woonsocket and West Warwick – to cut disability pensions, suspend automatic teacher raises and do away with state mandates such as school bus monitors.
According to Chafee, those four communities lost a combined $94.7 million in state aid between 2008 and 2011. Providence lost $54 million, and more than $25 million in 2009 alone. Pawtucket lost almost $20 million, Woonsocket more than $12 million and West Warwick lost $6 million.
Paul Valletta, a union representative for local fire fighters, said given the extreme loss in revenue recently it’s unfair to ask municipal employees to carry so much of the burden as communities attempt to adjust to the situation.