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Tue Jun 19, 2012, 11:08 AM

When ALEC Takes Over Your Town

Woonsocket, RI is in trouble. The state senate improved a supplemental property tax increase to address the $10 million deficit. But when the bill hit the House of Representatives, two conservative representatives held it up. These two have been pushing for a receiver being appointed, which would cause all kinds of "pain" for Woonsocket. One of the legislators is named Jon Brien.

<snip>

Or maybe it’s not so incredible. It turns out that one of them, Jon Brien, is also on the national board of the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC. Although ALEC is probably best known for its support of the Stand Your Ground law in Florida, the conservative group has a very clear agenda for dealing with state budgets. It wants to shrink them. Although Brien has denied that he is applying the ALEC philosophy to his small city, it looks, in fact, as if that’s exactly what he is doing. It’s not pretty.


Woonsocket’s problems stem from the decision of Rhode Island’s previous governor, a Republican named Don Carcieri, to balance the state’s budget by cutting state aid to the cities. All of Rhode Island’s poorer cities had become dependent on that aid, so when the economy soured, they essentially ran out of money. Providence had to renegotiate the retirement benefits of its municipal workers. Central Falls actually sought bankruptcy court protection — and a receiver was put in charge of its finances. As for Woonsocket, its current difficulties came to light last fall when the school district revealed a huge, unanticipated budget shortfall.

The two Woonsocket legislators quickly decided to apply Rahm Emanuel’s famous maxim about never letting a crisis go to waste. The fact that their town had a big budget deficit meant that if they played their cards right, they could do a lot more than just fix the schools’ problem. They could actually shrink the town government!

<snip>

He went on to say that the municipal unions — police, firefighters, teachers — “have been given pensions and benefits the city can no longer afford” but have no incentive to renegotiate. But a receiver, with the wave of a magic wand, can instantly cut their pensions, and there isn’t a thing they can do about it. When I asked Brien how bad the pension problem was in Woonsocket, he told me he didn’t know. “I’m a state legislator,” he said. “I don’t get into that level of municipal finance.”


This comes from Joe Nocera's excellent op-ed in today's NY Times, When ALEC Takes Over Your Town.

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And there you have it, one example of how ALEC is screwing the country, the middle class, unions, working Americans at a very small, local level. And it's happening all over the country.


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Reply When ALEC Takes Over Your Town (Original post)
tpsbmam Jun 2012 OP
midnight Jun 2012 #1
cali Jun 2012 #2
WillyT Jun 2012 #3

Response to tpsbmam (Original post)

Tue Jun 19, 2012, 11:45 AM

1. "Who’s Really Behind Recent Republican Legislation in Wisconsin and Elsewhere?

(Hint: It Didn’t Start Here)"


Telling Your State Legislators What to Do:
The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)

"The most important group, I’m pretty sure, is the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), which was founded in 1973 by Henry Hyde, Lou Barnett, and (surprise, surprise) Paul Weyrich. Its goal for the past forty years has been to draft “model bills” that conservative legislators can introduce in the 50 states. Its website claims that in each legislative cycle, its members introduce 1000 pieces of legislation based on its work, and claims that roughly 18% of these bills are enacted into law. (Among them was the controversial 2010 anti-immigrant law in Arizona.)
If you’re as impressed by these numbers as I am, I’m hoping you’ll agree with me that it may be time to start paying more attention to ALEC and the bills its seeks to promote.
You can start by studying ALEC’s own website. Begin with its home page at
http://www.alec.org
First visit the “About” menu to get a sense of the organization’s history and its current members and funders. But the meat of the site is the “model legislation” page, which is the gateway to the hundreds of bills that ALEC has drafted for the benefit of its conservative members.
http://www.alec.org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=Model_Legislation1
You’ll of course be eager to look these over…but you won’t be able to, because you’re not a member."http://scholarcitizen.williamcronon.net/2011/03/15/alec/

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Response to tpsbmam (Original post)

Tue Jun 19, 2012, 11:47 AM

2. Fortunately, ALEC has and will have, no interest in my town

and hasn't and won't gain traction in my state.

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Response to tpsbmam (Original post)

Tue Jun 19, 2012, 07:18 PM

3. HUGE K & R !!! - Thank You !!!


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