This Week's Poll

Should state lawmakers approve Gov. Lincoln D. Chafee’s package of municipal-empowerment bills?

Yes, municipalities need help controlling pension costs 71% | 117 votes
No, it weakens collective-bargaining rights for labor 10% | 16 votes
Only the COLA-increase freeze 10% | 17 votes
I don't know 9% | 15 votes
Posted 4/15/12

The General Assembly has begun debating a package of bills proposed by Gov. Lincoln D. Chafee to give municipal leaders increased control over local budgets.

The measures include freezing cost-of-living adjustments; lifting a school bus monitor mandate and barring locally run pension plans from offering benefits more generous than those in the state-run system. Another proposal gives chief executives of “highly distressed communities” final authority over education budgets. School and citywide administrative functions can also be consolidated.

Some union leaders have complained the proposals unfairly take authority away from school committees and undermine collective bargaining.

Supporters say communities struggling to rein in costs need all the help they can get to avoid bankruptcy.

What do you think?

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