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.