Dan McGowan looks into his political crystal ball and gleans a look at what we can expect from the upcoming legislative session and a number of the bills on his radar are also on the wish list for local progressives. Among them: marriage equality, tax equity, payday loan reform and voter ID revisions.
To this list, I would add a few more:
- Pension reform amendments: After all is said and done in court, or even while it’s all being said and done in court, the General Assembly could put the issue to bed once and for all and negotiate a more equitable deal with labor, the way Providence did and Cranston is doing. This could be as simple as less uniform age of retirement to scaling back the defined contribution aspects of the plan.
- Restoring some state aid to some cities. Last session, Gov. Chafee tried to help Rhode Island’s most struggling cities by offering Providence, Woonsocket, Central Falls and West Warwick “tools” that would have eroded collective bargaining rights. A better way to stabilize the situation would be to re-institute state aid to cities and towns.
- One way to do this would be to make the education funding formula even more progressive than the revamped model calls for. As it stands, Rhode Island suffers from this dynamic: while East Greenwich is considering getting every high school student an iPad, in Central Falls and Pawtucket every student doesn’t always get their own text book.
- Marijuana legalization. If Rhode Island wants to balance its budget and attract economic growth here, legalizing it would be a great way to kill those two birds with one stone. Colorado and Washington are expecting gigantic tax windfalls from their decision to do away with pot prohibition.
Did we forget anything? If so, please let us know in the comment section below what’s on your legislative wish list this holiday season…