poll: Who Won this Round of the Pension Reform Battle?
Monday, February 17, 2014
Who Won this Round of the Pension Reform Battle?
- 77 vote - Angel Taveras and Clay Pell - they can use the agreement against Raimondo
- 69 vote - Gina Raimondo - she can still claim ownership of Pension Reform
- 59 vote - Unions - NEA's Bob Walsh is urging members to support the agreement
- 18 vote - Taxpayers - the agreement preserves elements of Pension Reform
- 15 vote - Lincoln Chafee - he can claim a win as part of his legacy
Mayor Allan Fung of Cranston criticized the agreement and the adverse impact on municipal budgets. "Where would these additional amounts come from?" asked R.I. Taxpayers spokesperson Monique Chartier. "The state is currently looking at nine figure deficits. And Dan Beardsley correctly points out that 'city and town officials across this state are rubbing pennies together to balance their budgets'."
Who do you think won this round in the battle over pension reform - your turn.
Timeline - Rhode Island Pension Reform
GoLocalProv breaks down the sequence of events that have played out during Rhode Island's State Employee Pension Fund reform.
Governor Don Carcieri makes pension reform a top priority in his emergency budget plan. His three-point plan included:
1. An established minimum retirment age of 59 for all state and municipal employees.
2. Elimination of cost-of-living increases.
3. Conversion of new hires into a 401(k) style plan.
See WPRI's coverage of Carcieri's proposal here.
Rhode Island's state administered public employee pension system only held 48% of the assets to cover future payments to its emplyees.
"This system as designed today is fundamentally unsustainable, and it is in your best interest to fix it" - Gina Raimondo
Check out Wall Street Journal's coverage here.
Gina Raimondo defeats opponent Kernan King in the election for General Treasurer of Rhode Island using her platform to reform the structure of Rhode Island's public employee pension system. She received 201,625 votes, more than any other politician on the 2010 Rhode Island ballot.
Raimondo leads effort to reduce the state’s assumed rate of return on pension investments from 8.25 to 7.5%.
Her proposal includes plans to suspend the Cost of Living Adjustment (which allows for raises corresponding with rates of inflation for retirees), changing the retirement age to match Social Security ages, and adding a defined contribution plan.
Raimondo releases “Truth in Numbers”, a report detailing the pension crisis and offering possible solutions. She continues to work to raise public support for her proposal.
"Decades of ignoring actuarial assumptions led to lower taxpayer & employee contributions being made into the system." - Gina Raimondo (Truth in Numbers)
Read GoLocalProv's analysis of the report here.
Read the Truth in Numbers report here.
Governor Lincoln Chafee and General Treasurer Gina Raimondo present their pension reform legislation proposal before a joint session of the General Assembly.
“Our fundamental goal throughout this process has been to provide retirement security through reforms that are fair to the three main interested parties: retirees, current employees and the taxpayer…I join the General Treasurer in urging the General Assembly to take decisive action and adopt these reforms.”- Gov. Lincoln Chafee
Head of Rhode Island firefighters’ union accuses Raimondo of “cooking the books” to create a pension problem where one did not exist. Paul Valletta Jr. states that Raimondo raised Rhode Islanders’ assumed mortality rate to increase liability to the state, using data from 1994 instead of updated information from 2008, and lowered the anticipated rate of return on state investments.
“You’re going after the retirees! In this economic time, how could you possibly take a pension away?” Paul Valletta Jr (Head of RI Firefighters' Union)
Read more from the firefighters' battle with Raimondo here.
Check out the New York Times' take on RI's pension crisis here.
November 17, 2011
The Rhode Island Retirement Security Act (RIRSA) is enacted by the General Assembly with bipartisan support in both chambers. RIRSA’s passing is slated to reduce the unfunded liability of RI’s pension system and increase its funding status by $3 billion and 60% respectively, level contributions to the pension system by taxpayers, save municipalities $100 million through lessened contributions to teacher and MERS pension systems, and lower the cost of borrowing.
Read more from GoLocalProv here.
November 18, 2011
Governor Lincoln Chafee signs RIRSA into law. According to a December 2011 Brown University poll, 60% of Rhode Island residents support the reform. Following its enactment, Raimondo holds regional sessions to educate public employees on the effects of the legislation on their retirement benefits.
Read about how Rhode Islanders react to RIRSA here.
Raimondo hosts local workshops to explain the pension reforms across Rhode Island. She also receives national attention for her contributions to the state’s pension reforms. The reforms are given praise and many believe Rhode Island will serve as a template for other States’ future pension reforms.
Read about the pension workshop here.
Read Raimondo's feature in Institutional Investor here.
March - April 2012
Raimondo opposes Governor Chafee’s proposal to cut pension-funded deposits. She continued to provide workshops on the pension reforms.
December 5, 2012
Raimondo publicly opposes Governor Chafee’s meetings with union leaders in an effort to avoid judicial rulings on the pension reform package. In response, Chafee issues a statement supporting the negotiations.
Read more about Raimondo's opposition here.
Read about Chafee's statement here.
Led by the Rhode Island State Association of Fire Fighters, unions protest the 2011 pension reform outside of the Omni Providence where Governor Lincoln Chafee and General Treasurer Gina Raimondo conduct a national conference of bond investors.
Read about Raimondo's discussion of distressed municipalities here.
The pension plan comes under increased scrutiny as a result of the involvement of hedge funds and private equity firms. Reports show that $200 million of the state pension fund was lost in 2012.
"In short, impressive educational credentials and limited knowledge of investment industry realities made Raimondo ideally suited to champion private equity’s public pension money grab." - Ted Seidle (Forbes)
Read GoLocalProv's coverage of the State Pension Fund's losses here.
Read Ted Seidle's criticism of Raimondo in Forbes.
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- A-Z Pension Guide: The Terms You Need to Know
- Aaron Regunberg: Think Again on Pension Reform
- Anti-Pension Reform Lawmakers Cash in with Unions
- BREAKING: Court Rules Employees Have Rights to Pension
- BREAKING: Pension Reform Bill Passes; Heads to Governor’s Desk
- BREAKING: RI Health Dir. Fine Halts Suspension of Pharmacist Blais
- CHART: The Worst Funded Pension Plans in RI
- Central Falls Paves the Way for Pension Reform
- Chafee Broke Pension Promises to Public Employees
- Chafee Pension Proposal More Severe than Caprio’s
- Chafee Pushes Pension Reform to Cities
- Chafee: Everything on Table for Pension Reform
- Cianci, Cicilline, Esserman Pensions Targeted
- City Board Takes Aim at Cianci Pension
- City Council Clashes with Taveras over Disability Pension Request
- City Moves to Block Pensions for Corrupt Cops
- City Official Wants to Revoke Cicilline’s Future Pension
- City Pays Over $130k Annually for Elected Officials’ Special Pensions
- Council at Odds: Members Call for Changes to Pension Reform
- Councilman Demands Outside Review of Disability Pensions
- Does Rhode Island’s Pension Reform Law have Any Hope of Survival?
- Donna Perry: Don’t Ruin the RI Pension Reform Law
- Donna Perry: No Time for Timid Pension Reform in Providence
- Donna Perry: The Taxpayers’ Pension Tab and the Union Lawsuit
- Donna Perry: Time for Heavy Lifting on Disability Pension Reforms
- Donna Perry: Union Strategy: Sabotage Pension Reform
- EXCLUSIVE: COLAs Killing State Pension System
- EXCLUSIVE: Pension Rip-off—Providence Retirees Benefit from Loophole
- EXCLUSIVE: Providence Unfunded Pension Liability Now At Least $831M
- EXCLUSIVE: RI Pension Investment in Raimondo’s Pt. Judith Had Steep Losses
- EXCLUSIVE: State Pension Fund Lost $200M under Raimondo
- EXCLUSIVE: Union Leader—Review All Disability Pensions
- Exclusive Poll: Two-Thirds Of Voters Don’t Trust Pols With Pension Reform
- Experts React to Call for SEC Investigation Into RI Pension Fund
- Experts React to Rhode Island Pension Reform Agreement
- Experts Score Rhode Island Pension Battle
- Forbes Columnist: RI Will Be Blown Away by Pension Investigation
- Forbes: Retirement Planning in the Face of Pension Reform
- Former Teachers Union Head Blasts Raimondo’s Pension Investments
- Former Warwick Councilman Accuses Mayor of Ignoring Pension Problem
- INVESTIGATION: Despite Reform, Pensions Will Cost RI More in 2013
- INVESTIGATION: Providence Board Members Rack up Pension Benefits
- In Case You Missed It: Raimondo’s Pension Investments
- In Case You Missed It: Siedle Report on RI Pension Investments
- LISTEN- Pensions Will Cost RI More in 2013 Despite Reform
- LISTEN- Rhode Island Pension Battle: Who are the Players?
- LISTEN- State Pension Fund Pays $570,000 to Raimondo’s Former Firm
- LIVE STREAM- RI ACLU Press Conference- Youth Suspension Implications
- Laffey Blasts Raimondo on Pension Reform
- Landmark Pension Bill Passes House, Senate
- Lawmaker Wants Budget Surplus to Cover Pension Lawsuits
- Lawmakers Rake in $120k Since Voting Against Pension Reform
- Lisa Blais: RI’s Budget—State Pension, Tolls + The Big Win
- Listen: ‘Confidential’ Memo Shows West Warwick Pensions Just 19.8% Funded
- MINDSETTER™ Ted Siedle: News from the State Pension is All Good
- Majority of Anti-Pension Reform Lawmakers Returning to Smith Hill
- Michael Riley: Is the RI Pension Commission Making Up Numbers?
- Michael Riley: The Municipal Pension Study Commission Is A Failure
- Municipal Leaders: Pension Bill Ignores Cities and Towns
- Municipal Pension Reform May Be Impossible
- Municipalities Choking on Pension Costs: City-by-City Breakdown
- NEW: Annual Costs of State Pension Funds to Go Up
- NEW: Chafee Appoints Members to Municipal Pension Study Commission
- NEW: Chafee Blasts Pension Bill for Not Addressing Municipal Problems
- NEW: Chafee Issues Statement Supporting Pension Negotiations
- NEW: Chafee Release Video Touting Pension Reform
- NEW: Chafee Releases Pension Reform Video
- NEW: City Retirement Board Rescinds Former Fire Chief’s Disability Pension
- NEW: Common Cause Calls for more Public Deliberation on Pension Bill
- NEW: Conservative Think Tank Says Pension Liability may be $18 Billion
- NEW: EngageRI Says Pension Proposal is on “Right Track”
- NEW: EngageRI Supports Providence Pension Reform
- NEW: Former Union Head Day Blasts City Council on Pension Reform
- NEW: Fox and Binder Battle Over Pension Reform
- NEW: Freezing COLAs is Only One Step to Local Pension Reform, Group Says
- NEW: Fung Calls for Chafee and Raimondo to “Come Clean” on Pensions
- NEW: Governor Chafee Says Pension Reform is “Incomplete”
- NEW: Governor Postpones Israel Trip to Focus on Pension Reform
- NEW: Governor and Treasurer Outline Pension Reform Proposal
- NEW: Governor and Treasurer Unveil Pension Reform
- NEW: Hassett and Igliozzi Call for Changes to Providence Pension Reform
- NEW: Joint Session On Pensions Kicks Off Tonight
- NEW: Judge Taft-Carter Won’t Recuse Herself From Pension Lawsuit
- NEW: Judge Won’t Halt Pension Reform Law
- NEW: Mayor Taveras Criticizes Pension Proposal
- NEW: Mayor and Council President Call for Changes to Pension Plan
- NEW: Mayors Taveras and Polisena to Head Up Pension Commission
- NEW: Mediation Ordered in State Pension Reform Lawsuit