Pension Coverage From Around the RI Interwebs

1. According to Ted Nesi of WPRI-TV (CBS 12), there’s little change in the overall fiscal impact, between the original pension bill and the amended pension bill.
2. State Treasurer Gina Raimondo fully backs the revised bill, and is discouraging any amendments that would change around the fiscal particulars (h/t Ian Donnis)…

“In the coming days, I will continue to work with legislative leaders as they move toward final passage. Re-designing the state pension system is critical to moving toward a thriving economy. At this point, I urge caution that further amendments, which could compromise the principles of affordability, sustainability, and security must be avoided.

3. GoLocalProv has posted Governor Lincoln Chafee’s statement on the amended bill, where he says that “adoption of this modified bill would be a substantial – but incomplete – step toward comprehensive pension reform”, then adds…
I am deeply disappointed that the amended bill presented to the committee today fails to address the problem of our insolvent municipal pension systems. In order to correct this shortcoming, on the first day of the legislative session in January I will introduce a bill to address Rhode Island’s failing municipal pension plans.

3e (e for “editorial comment”). If the Governor submits a local pension bill in January, and the RI General Assembly follows its usual practice of doing nothing fiscally important until June, there is major potential for chaos during municipal budgeting next year. Will cities and towns have to prepare two budgets, one if local pension reform is passed, and one if it isn’t?
4. Philip Marcelo of the Projo had an interesting item yesterday, noting that several of the state’s labor leaders could be seen coming out of House Speaker Gordon Fox’s office, at the same time that the amended bill was being finalized. The speaker’s spokesman says that the labor leaders were not involved in discussions about the bill, and there’s no indication of whether union leaders used their non-discussion time with state lawmakers to convey a message of “our pension was all right until they played around with numbers” of the kind that AFSCME Council 94 President Michael Downey delivers when he speaks in front of a union audience (link: Jim Baron of the Pawtucket Times), or a message of “room to talk about” assumptions about investment return and life expectancy and other pension parameters of the kind that AFSCME Council 94 President Michael Downey delivers when he speaks to a broader audience (link: RI-PBS’ “A Lively Experiment”).
5. The provision where the state retirement board can write legislation that “must be enacted” by the legislature is still part of the bill, and is still unconstitutional, and I find it hard to believe that the Speaker of the House and Senate President actually realize that they are giving up their authority to set the legislative agenda in certain cases to a panel of non-legislators, given that they don’t even give that power to their own membership at the present time.

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Josh
Josh
9 years ago

I would be very interested to hear what Congressional Candidate Doherty has to say about pension reform. Especially because he is the recipient of a 6-figure for life, free medical for life taxpayer funded pension! When is this empty suit going to own up to the fact that we cannot afford to pay 48 year olds like him a six figure salary for life! Crickets… I thought so! Phony!

Tommy Cranston
Tommy Cranston
9 years ago

Slightly watered down but more cosmetic watering down than real. Still a good bill, considering the “gar-bidge” the voters have chosen to keep re-electing.
Municipalities? If there is no relief soon they will begin, one by one, marching to the Bankruptcy Court just like Jefferson County Alabama yesterday.
Sleep tight Kenney and Morse.

Monique
Editor
9 years ago

“Will cities and towns have to prepare two budgets, one if local pension reform is passed, and one if it isn’t?”
Great point. Upon reflection, that’s probably why the mayors were pushing so hard to get reform in now.

Tommy Cranston
Tommy Cranston
9 years ago

I’m laughing so hard I almost wet my pants; they just took out ALL the disability reform language.
This language will have to be restored next year after disability claims exponentially explode.
Score one (temporarily for sure) for the crooks.

Max D
Max D
9 years ago

“I would be very interested to hear what Congressional Candidate Doherty has to say about pension reform.”
Ah yes, the proverbial ammo for the Loughlin crowd. Where’s the rest of the crowd? I’m sure they’ll be along shortly.

Monique
Editor
9 years ago

“they just took out ALL the disability reform language.”
Oh that’s great. So Smith Hill has CUT the funding to people with real disabilities but would LEAVES IN the funding for people with mostly fake disabilities.
Completely upside down priorities.

Monique
Editor
9 years ago

… and while we’re on the subject, other than quadrapalegics and blindness, our elected officials should have already ordered the review of every disability pension in this state, and not by any of the apparently usual but suspect doctors who approved them to begin with. To do less is to go along with what is statistically far too often a crime; i.e., fraud.

Monique
Editor
9 years ago

Max D, I don’t know where Brendan Doherty stands on pension reform.
But Loughlin supporters will probably tread lightly in this area: as I recall, John Loughlin had something of a mixed record on pension reform while on Smith Hill.

Tommy Cranston
Tommy Cranston
9 years ago

“our elected officials should have already ordered the review of every disability pension in this state”
Don’t worry; John Igliozzi and (I’m No) Angel are working on this…I am sure there will be some positive results soon.
LOL.

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