Governor Carcieri's special televised budget address last night struck me as a bit of a hodge-podge -- a mix of overdue concepts along with some others that leave continued questions.
As is his wont, the talk radio-friendly governor took his case directly to the public, communicating the seriousness of the situation, trying to frame it in a national context, and offering steps that might help to burnish his legacy.
Reducing the minimum retirement age to qualify for a state pension to 59 seems like a no-brainer. The same can be said of Carcieri's proposed high-level commission on consolidating municipal services and school districts, but why didn't he come to this earlier in his two terms in the governor's office?
Elsewhere, the governor talked about the problem of Rhode Island's very high property taxes, yet cutting local aid to cities and towns leaves municipal officials wondering how they will make up the difference. Avoiding broad-based tax cuts may be well and good, but is this really the case if property taxes get hiked?
Carcieri said his plan will spare the state's social safety net from harm, but there are questions about that as well.
The governor is pursuing a media offensive to followup on his address, and he'll appear for a mid-day taping of WPRI/WNAC-TV's Newsmakers. I'll report back later.