May 22, 2011

As We're Waiting for Godot Gina, the Latest on Rhode Island's Public Pension Disaster

Monique Chartier

So here's where we stand.

> Tomorrow at 2 pm, G.T. Gina Raimondo presents the history and making of Rhode Island's pension crisis, to be followed by a "menu" of remedy options.

> She admits to being on a bit of a crusade. Like that's a bad thing when even a liberal think tank in Washington, the Center on Budget Policy Priorities, is aghast, in an analytical sort of way, by the severity of Rhode Island's unfunded pension liability (the funding level is now less than 50%), concluding that only "radical changes" will solve the problem. (H/T WPRI's Ted Nesi.)

> This summer, the General Assembly will convene a study commission to examine the options presented by the G.T. I know, I know. As Speaker Gordon Fox is talking about making it a BRAC style commision, however, there is hope that, this time, something productive will come of a study commission. Not to mention the urgency involved in staring down the barrel, in little more than a year, of a doubling of the taxpayer contribution (to 621 million non-existent dollars).

> General Assembly leadership have agreed to a reconvening of the G.A. in the fall to take up the recommendations of the pension study commission.

> While acknowledging that the amount is "nowhere near what's needed", the Governor is standing by his recommendation that a 3% raise coming to state employees be channelled to a higher pension contribution. The Senate President agrees with him. I agree with the employees, who are resisting. There should be no increase in anyone's contribution until the pension system is salvaged.

> We would be remiss if we did not mention the rumor circulating that the General Assembly has agreed to a compromise: pension reform gets passed but so do binding arbitration and perpetual contracts. If this is the case, don't bother with pension reform. Better to have the swift financial death of no pension reform than the slow, agonizing end represented by binding arb and perpetual contracts.

> And the last item (for the moment) on pensions: a couple of legislators, who clearly have been residing in a different solar system for the last twenty years, filed a bill that would define pensions benefits as property rights. Hey, chuckleheads. Quit lying to our public employees. You can't create rights to something that not only does not exist but has no hope of coming into existence. The checks WILL start bouncing unless we do more than sit around smirkily passing empty laws.

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Whether it's East Germany, Mozambique or Rhode Island, one-party rule destroys states
RI must rid itself of Democrats and create some kind of balance
The state is run by corrupt, stupid goons--each one a Democrat

Having said that--we do obviously need to make Gina Raimondo Governor, and the sooner the better. She is brilliant, in stark contradt to the current governor, who is a moron

Posted by: doug misner at May 22, 2011 10:17 PM

But Tom Sgouros says that binding arbitration will save the state money.

Posted by: Dan at May 22, 2011 11:14 PM

Pure kayfabe.
From today's projo: they are talking about eliminating COLA's for (get ready): NEW HIRES.
Yup, won't save a dime until the 2050's. Meanwhile they are on the verge of adding hundreds of millions to the unfunded mandates by giving unmarried perverted sex partners pension survivorship rights.
If the people don't vote in a Republican GA which will enact Wisconsin-like reforms in the next 2 cycles this state is about to experience a series of Stalinistic tax hikes, both state and municipal, which will turn us into East Detroit.
My money's on East Detroit...

Posted by: Tommy Cranston at May 23, 2011 8:45 AM


A monkey would be sharper than Chafee but let's not give Gina her promotion until she actually accomplishes something other than ringing the fire bell. I'll give her credit for a good plan even is she can't get it by the GA but let's see the plan first.

Posted by: Max Diesel at May 23, 2011 10:19 AM

If her plan doesn't cut benefits to current retirees and currently employed, it is not a is a charade.
Can't wait to see....

Posted by: Mike Cappelli at May 23, 2011 12:59 PM

Tom's right. After all, those were gays who flew those planes into the World Trade Center.
And with those Wisconsin-like reforms, the GOP overplayed its hand (although Walker did not order the National Guard to shoot, as I'm sure Tom would've). Completely turned off independents and reminded them, after they broke GOP last year, why they voted for Obama three years ago.

Posted by: bella at May 23, 2011 4:54 PM

Is Linky Chafee still governor? He has said almost nothing about the pension issue and is apparently in hiding, waiting to see which way the wind blows in the wake of the truth bomb Gina Raimondo has delivered.

Has there ever been a more gutless, out-of-touch buffoon than our silly little pampered governor. Next time the rich east side and barrington housewives push one of their own into the state house maybe they should ask "Has this guy ever had a real job or has he been lost in space since the day he was born"

Posted by: Doug Misner at May 24, 2011 10:07 PM
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