Providence, RI - In the latest example of Governor Lincoln D. Chafee's continued and sustained efforts to address Rhode Island's municipal challenges and to provide property tax relief to Rhode Islanders, the Governor today hosted leaders and representatives of state and municipal employee groups for a two-hour meeting at the State House.
"I want to thank the many participants who took part in this productive discussion. The input and perspective of employee groups is invaluable as we work to address the challenges facing our cities and towns, and many constructive ideas were suggested over the course of the session. The employees represented by today's participants work day in and day out to provide the services on which Rhode Islanders depend, and they have an interest, as we all do, in ensuring that our municipalities can continue to provide those services," Governor Chafee said.
"I have stated repeatedly that these are economic development issues. If we are going to attract outside companies to bring new jobs and economic growth here, Rhode Island must be viewed as a state that is being proactive and not simply allowing its cities and towns to collapse. All Rhode Islanders have an interest in bringing economic revitalization to our state. I'm on the side of all Rhode Islanders, as I know the municipal leadership and employees are as well. My job is to facilitate a solution for these municipal issues so cities and towns can succeed, the property taxpayer is protected, and retirement security is ensured for employees and current retirees," Governor Chafee continued.
"I would like 2012 to be the year of the cities and towns at the State House. Under my leadership, these critical issues will finally get the attention they deserve from state officials. Our mission and our goal is to empower local officials and property taxpayers to reclaim their municipalities," Governor Chafee concluded.
Participants thanked Governor Chafee for convening the session and for his willingness to listen to their concerns and suggestions. They also expressed agreement with the Governor's belief that with job creation and economic revitalization in Rhode Island, many of the challenges discussed will become far less severe.
Governor Chafee talked about the need to confront municipal fiscal issues head-on throughout his gubernatorial campaign, and since taking office has consistently stressed the need to help the state's cities and towns better serve Rhode Islanders.
In addition to the Governor's Municipal Strategy Sessions for municipal executives and employee groups, he will host in the coming weeks a business roundtable to further discuss ways for the Chafee Administration to work with cities and towns to better serve Rhode Islanders achieve fiscal stability.