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Wall Street Journal Backs Carcieri on Shutdown

Governor Carcieri's plan to shutdown state government for 12 days and chop funding to cities and towns may be drawing the ire of unions and mayors, but he gets some backing from the reliably conservative Wall Street Journal with an editorial today:

Unions typically have the whip hand in Rhode Island, where 62% of public employees belong to unions compared with 37% nationwide. But the last time the state's unions sought an injunction against a government shutdown, things didn't go their way. In 1991, the state Supreme Court allowed Governor Bruce Sundlun to send state workers on unpaid holiday, a decision that may bode well for Mr. Carcieri.

We hope the governor holds his ground. State revenues have collapsed in the recession, and this year's stimulus is a temporary reprieve. State governments are going to have to shrink, and a furlough is at least an attempt to spread the pain fairly across the state work force. Public employees may lose a paycheck, but at least they keep their jobs—unlike millions of workers in the private economy.

Alas, the Wall Street Journal's editorial page does not have much clout in lil' Rhody. And the ProJo's oft-conservative positions are but a whimper on Smith Hill.

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