He's Ba-aack

Former Cranston Mayor Stephen P. Laffey, Republican provocateur, is back. Thought to have left the state after his decision, several months ago, to skip the governor's race, he shows up again today in the Providence Journal with a typically inflammatory op-ed accusing state lawmakers and Governor Carcieri of shepherding through an unsustainable budget that amounts to fraud. Could he be reconsidering his hasty exit from Rhode Island politics?

Here's an excerpt from his piece:

Let’s be frank. This fraudulent budget now puts Rhode Island on the road to collapse. Only, unlike California, whose comptroller has put out a loud warning, the Rhode Island populace will have to wait to be “surprised” when Rhode Island is about to miss payroll. The similarities between Rhode Island today and Cranston in 2002 before I became mayor are eerie. The lies were plentiful then and near bankruptcy ensued.

So while fraud is being perpetrated against the Rhode Island public, let me tell you the truth: The deficit could be north of $800 million and is leading to insolvency. The pension system is still broke and can only be saved by turning all accounts into 401(k)s. (See my March 5 Commentary piece, “Time grows short for our poor state.”)

The elected officials who signed off on the budget have all committed fraud.

After our leaders have sent signals for years that they do not want any real tax base in Rhode Island, guess what? There isn’t any. Governor Carcieri’s signing of the budget, despite any cockamamie reason he may give, transmits another signal to everyone outside the state that this nonsense is what Rhode Island deems true, and sends another death blow to both economic development and to the state Republican Party.

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