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Union Leader Calls Fiscal Fitness Program a Joke (posted February 3, 2008)

Union leader George Nee said Rhode Island Governor Don Carcieri's Fiscal Fitness program "was a joke". Appearing on the WJAR-TV show "10 News Conference", Nee said the governor's fiscal reviews "selected certain people from certain departments" and complained that "they decided unilaterally what needed to be done".

With the state facing a half billion dollar budget deficit, union leaders said it was time for state officials to "listen to us". Neither Nee nor Service Employee union leader Lucy Burdick had much good to say about Carcieri's calls for privatization. Past efforts to outsource public jobs to the private sector in the Department of Transportation were a "miserable failure", Nee said. Burdick argued that "once you privatize, you lose control over your budget".

Nee complained about the new "untouchable class", those making over $250,000. These individuals have gotten favorable tax breaks and the union leader asked "why are we giving them a tax break?" When asked her opinion of Carcieri, Burdick said "he is a nice man. We differ on his policies. A lot of people pray."