Pawtucket Pension and Retirement Shortfall: $500 Million (Just Pawtucket)

… which includes $83,000 a month in disability pensions. And that item could have been even higher, if you can believe it, but Pawtucket has an enlightened – by Rhode Island standards – rule that shifts disability pensioners over to a regular pension at retirement age. (So there are cities and towns which do not make this shift but allow the pensioner to continue collecting the more generous disability pension? Why? The person is now of retirement age.)
Major kudos to Ethan Shorey at the Valley Breeze for researching and bringing these figures to light.

Documents obtained from the Pawtucket Personnel Department and state records show that the city’s pension system is currently paying out $46,369 a month in long-term disabled retiree pensions to 10 police officers, two firefighters, and four other municipal workers.
Another 11 “injured on duty” employees, five firefighters, two police officers, and four municipal workers, are being paid a total of $36,548 a month out of the city’s general fund.
The public safety pension and municipal health benefits funds are together an estimated $500 million under-funded, according to officials.

In other words, the retirement shortfall of just one city of thirty nine equals half a billion dollars. As Providence is starkly demonstrating, many of our cities and towns don’t have the revenue to simply operate, never mind begin to cover the chasm that comprises our retirement liability
Yet, a couple of weeks ago, the Senate President almost seemed to be warning the legislature against taking up pension reform.

Senate President M. Teresa Paiva Weed warned legislators that recent attempts at pension reform had been bitterly opposed, and cost some senators and representatives their elected offices after they won passage.

So what is the alternative, Madam President? Shall we simply allow public pension checks to start bouncing in a couple of years?

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Dan
Dan
10 years ago

That shortfall is very serious. I’m sure the “representatives” from Pawtucket are hard at work on the issue.
Oh wait, no they aren’t. They’re co-sponsoring legislation that makes it even easier for firemen and policemen to receive full disability pensions:
http://www.projo.com/news/content/DISABILITY_PENSION_BILL_06-09-11_89OHPV9_v88.311b61e.html
And Tom and Michael wonder why we view RI Big Labor with disgust.

stuck_here_in_ri
stuck_here_in_ri
10 years ago

Let em’ bounce baby, let em’ bounce…. it’s the only way people will truly believe there is a problem. Right now it’s just Chicken Little… so what if the “pension fund” is underfunded?? “They” will just raise taxes and pay-as-you-go.
THAT’S the mentality.
Until people (that is the folks GAINING from the system, not the people paying in, we’ve been feeling real pain for a long time) feel REAL PAIN, the GA (aka, OWNED by the people who GAIN from the system, not by us who actually PAY FOR THIS STUFF) will never take on real spending reform (not just pension reform, but overall Government spending).
Until we’re bouncing checks (literally) left and right, the one party-we-run-this-place GA will NEVER make any difficult decisions.
Meanwhile just pay the extra 1 cent an ounce for your soft drinks that will go to the GENERAL FUND (not toward any sort of Nutrition education program), that’s just about 64 cents for every 2-liter bottle….
I’m venting…. sorry.
Things must get MUCH worse for the GA to any real action, that’s my point.

ANTHONY
ANTHONY
10 years ago

RI is the national poster child for “The Little People Exist for The Govt.” movement. Taxes fund everything. The Govt. confiscates from the producers and sees fit to bankrupt the very taxpayers that fund it. The GA, the FEDS and Hussein in the White House are truly insane in their quest for power and influence. They will destroy the very mechanism that supports them.

RITaxpayer
RITaxpayer
10 years ago

Piva-Weed said:
“recent attempts at pension reform had been bitterly opposed, and cost some senators and representatives their elected offices after they won passage.”
Seems to me that’s a mighty strong statement for the implementation of ‘term limits’ for ALL elected officials. Then, maybe, they’d do the right thing for the taxpayers instead of worrying about getting reelected.

Tommy Cranston
Tommy Cranston
10 years ago

Once again I address the following to anyone, left, right or center:
Does ANYONE here really think that in 17 weeks the GA is going to meet and:
1. Raise the retirement age to 67-for existing workers.
2. Suspend COLA’s for all, even the already retired.
3. Drop the annuity benefit down to 1.0%-1.2% from 1.6%-2.0%.
Anyone????????

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