Fiscal Responsibility, Government Accountability, Return to Constitutional Values and Principles
A. Fiscal Responsibility
1. State government must run a balanced budget every year approved before the beginning of each fiscal year.
2. Tax or fee increases must be approved by a 2/3 majority of both houses of the General Assembly.
3. The Governor should have appropriate authority to reduce state government expenses without requiring General Assembly approval to keep the budget in balance.
4. The Governor should have a line-item veto on all spending bills.
5. Government expenses may not grow by more than the prior year’s increase in population plus inflation.
6. Defined-benefit retirement and health plans are fiscally unsound and unsustainable. The current pension system must be replaced by defined-contribution plans for all government employees.
7. State mandates that require cities and towns, school districts (and businesses, as applicable) to expend revenue should be eliminated. “Legislative grants” should be eliminated and state taxes reduced commensurately. All government spending is taxpayer generated revenue. All spending must be fully transparent and accountable to the taxpayers of Rhode Island.
B. Government Accountability
1. Transcripts of all General Assembly proceedings must be made available to the public on-line within 24 hours. Voting records of every legislator must be made available to the public on-line within 24 hours of any vote.
2. All bills should be available to the public on-line in their final form for five business days before being voted on, and any further amendments are also subject to this provision.
3. All committee meeting agendas should be publicly announced at least five business days in advance. All bills introduced in the General Assembly must be subject to a public hearing before referral to the floor for debate and voting.
C. Return to Constitutional Values and Principles
1. State government must return its activities within the bounds defined by the founding fathers of the United States of America, as explained in the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Federalist Papers: the protection of individual rights, care of “public goods” such as roads and the environment, public safety, and administration of the legal system.
2. Title 28, the Labor section of the state’s General Laws, violates equal protection principles by giving unions near-monopoly power over public employers. It must be replaced with “right-to-work/right-to-hire” legislation that treats all citizens, employers and employees, equally. Public sector employees should not be mandated to join a union or forfeit public-sector employment. We are not anti-union; we believe that unions are an essential expression of the right to freedom of association. Income redistribution in the form of myriad “social services” and direct cash payments is not a legitimate function of government. The Founders consistently warned against the use of government to take money from some citizens and give it to others.
3. State government currently has the power to micro-manage nearly every aspect of town and city, and school district activities. This power must be given back to the local governments and to the people.
4. All bills introduced in the General Assembly must include an explanation of their purpose and how they comply with the Constitution.
5. All laws at the state level must apply equally to all the people of Rhode Island. The use of law to steer benefits or advantages to specific people or groups is illegitimate and must be prevented.
6. The value of a citizen’s right to vote must be protected by laws that prevent election fraud, including validation of citizenship and residence for voter registration and Voter ID at the polls.
7. When the functions of state government are returned within Constitutional bounds, the cost of government will shrink to a point that we can lower taxes substantially. This will create an environment that will attract productive businesses and people to Rhode Island and contribute to the success of our state.
8. Our education system must be reformed in a way that focuses on achieving results in terms of academic and vocational learning, not social agenda, and returns power to local school systems and parents rather than a state bureaucracy. We support a competitive system based on school choice and vouchers or scholarships to empower families to choose the schools that best fit their needs.
Last Updated: 12:27 AM 6/6/2014