Rhode Island Senators Take Up Pension Settlement


Rhode Island’s pension settlement, stemming from a legal challenge to the state’s 2011 reform law, is entering the next phase of its approval this week as lawmakers examine the agreement.

Lawmakers and Superior Court Judge Sarah Taft-Carter must approve the settlement before it becomes official.

From the Providence Journal:

With few exceptions, everyone who sat in front of the microphone at Monday’s Senate Finance Committee hearing spoke in favor of the proposed pension settlement, including lawyers on both sides of the court fight, one of the union leaders who once vigorously challenged the legality of the state’s 2011 pension overhaul and the town administrator for Middletown.

In the words of state Treasurer Seth Magaziner: “A good deal is one where nobody walks away feeling like they got everything they want, but everyone feels that they got something. By that measure, this is a good deal.”

“Most of the members in the retirement system will see larger cost-of-living adjustments, more frequent cost-of-living adjustments and lower retirement ages than they would have received under the original reform,” he said.


The proposed settlement doubles to 2 percent of pay the pension value of each year of work for those with 20 or more years of government service. It also frees them from required membership-and-contribution to the 401(k)-style plan that lawmakers created to supplement the retirement income of Rhode Island’s public employees, after dramatic defined-benefit cuts.

Judge Sarah Taft-Carter is expected to rule on the “fairness” of the settlement soon. But with the state’s legislative session ending, lawmakers wanted to get a jump start on examinations of the agreement.


Photo by Juli via Flickr CC License

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