Tom Ward’s COLA Proposal

Valley Breeze publisher Tom Ward offers a proposal for modifying cost-of-living pension increases that’s softer than a total freeze

What is the better way to handle COLAs and save money? Follow the lead of our surrounding states, that’s how.
In Massachusetts, all state employees get a 3 percent raise on the first $12,000 of their pensions, and no more. What if we did this in Rhode Island (with $12,000 or, I would suggest, an even larger figure) and extend it to both current and future retirees?
It’s a question I posed to state General Treasurer Frank Caprio last week when he stopped in for a visit to this newspaper.
“Is it fair,” I asked, “for a recently retired Woonsocket superintendent of schools to receive a $350 per month raise (on a $140,000 annual pension), every year, forever, while teachers who have been in the classroom 25 years get no COLAs when they retire?” We agreed the correct answer was “No.”

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13 years ago

The unionists are claiming that anybody already retired is legally entitled to COLA’s in perpetuity. That issue needs to be addressed first.

George Elbow
George Elbow
13 years ago

Tom Ward’s proposal is start.
But we need more.
We need to raise the minimum Retirement age at which some can begin to collect and reduce the benefit.
Woonsocket has the Poster-child for Pension Reform. 42-year-young Retiree Toddler Brien, perpetual losing candidate for mayor, voted against Pension Reform when he was a State Rep.
After a mere 20 years on the WPD, he could easily collect a GUARANTEED Pension that grows by 3+% EVERY year, plus free Health Insurance, for twice as many years as he worked (assuming he lived to age 82.
Is there a better example of why we need Pension Reform?
Indeed, Pension Reform should be the Top priority of the do-nothing GA, as it the Pensions will eventually bankrupt the state.
We need to begin calling out our state Reps / Senators and force them to articulate a position on this issue.
And if they don’t follow thru aggressively to implement reform, rather than “studying” it, we should unleash a campaign to drive them from office.

13 years ago

Yes, the killer cop from Cranston who “became disabled” at 26 and STILL, in the ACI , is collecting a fat monthly check –with a COLA last month.

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