To the Editor:
As we go into this year's elections voters once again will be lead by the nose via politicians that talk about lowering and or stabilizing taxes that criticize special interests but never give definitive answers. Lowering taxes can only be accomplished via privatization of our services, wherever possible, and holding people accountable for their actions via realistic laws, policies and programs in which conservative leadership is the only way forward.
At present approximately 32 percent of Rhode Islanders that vote are employed in or retired from civil service including eligible voters living in the same household. When you include people that go through life with their "hands out" the Democratic Party is indeed their refuge in which the spirit of our taxation has been greatly undermined. Note: voting apathy is approximately 39 percent.
As for the need for privatization here is a "partial list" of benefits across the contracts Johnston Town Workers receive that would put any business out of business in a heartbeat. Family healthcare plans cost approximately $21,000 in which contributions are as low as $24 a week, 15 holidays including double holiday pay, 3 personal days and 20 sick days that can be accumulated up to 150 in their severance packages. At 20 years vacations range from 5 to 8 weeks in which 180 days can also be added to their severance packages. Pensions are based on their 3 most productive years. Note: half the amount of their severance packages, that could be well over $50,000, are added to their pension amounts. After only 20 years of public service police and fire retirees average a minimum of $5,400 a month excluding continued paid family healthcare. As for other departments pensions average $3,400 a month after only 28 years. Longevity bonuses average town workers $3,200 annually, some over $9,000. Grace pay allows workers to be paid for half the time their late for work and the remainder of their shift. We provide life insurance policies that range from $35,000 to $75,000, $1,800 annual clothing allowances and 12 percent pension contributions. In addition, overtime costs for minimum staffing requirements for police and fire is in the hundreds of thousands annually in which cutting back on the endless holidays, sick days, vacation days, early retirement's and personal days and developing a certified standby paid volunteer system would save $hundreds of thousands annually. Note: if a worker works 15 minutes over their regular shift they must be paid a full hour at time and one half.
At present we have a total workforce of approximately 1,000 employees in which we have approximately 700 retirees in which the healthcare costs alone for retirees are in the millions annually as that number continues to clime and creates unnecessary ever increasing taxation or over development.
As for education the costs are approximately $19,000 per student including kindergarten. However, the combined costs of religious education from pre kindergarten through grade twelve is half the costs and students get a better education in which vouchers would reduce costs via competition that would also enhance academic standards including addressing concerns parents have regarding sex education and political correctness brain washing etc.
In closing, among our infrastructure needs our streets are in terrible shape yet we continue to elect politicians that will never address the above and the need for privatization. Approximately 90 percent of our states politicians are democrats in which the party and the unions are one in the same. Is it any wonder we pay among the highest taxes across the board in the country including annual property taxes on our cars in addition to being one of 13 states that taxes social security. We need balanced representation but more importantly leadership that has the courage to address above.
Peter A. Filippi III