Tag archive for Rhode Island

How pension reform shrinks R.I. deficit

Rhode Island Governor-elect Gina Raimondo rose to political prominence engineering a difficult pension reform in the Ocean State back in 2011. Now one of her challenges as governor will be grappling with a state budget deficit that, by her calculation, will be much larger if the courts overturn those reforms after a long legal battle…

In Rhode Island, running for governor and from fiscal reality

Rhode Island’s gubernatorial candidates Gina Raimondo and Allan Fung have been crisscrossing the state suggesting creative solutions to the economic challenges facing the Ocean State. However, they have not been as creative in proposing fiscally responsible ways to pay for them.
If any state could benefit …

GOP’s Fung has his own R.I. pension reform story

State Treasurer Gina Raimondo’s victory in the Sept. 9 Rhode Island Democratic gubernatorial primary has attracted a lot of national attention (see here, here and here, for instance) in large part because of her successful state pension reforms. But her Republican opponent, Cranston Mayor Allan Fung, has his own retirement reforms to tout in a state where municipalities have been under severe pressures from rising retirement costs, too…

Winners and losers in Rhode Island

The settlement between the state of Rhode Island and its public employee unions–in which the unions agreed to drop their lawsuit against pension reforms in exchange for the state modifying terms of the reforms–still leaves in place some of the most significant changes to government pensions that we’ve seen anywhere since states and cities started trying to deal with their retirement debt in the wake of the 2008 markets’ collapse. That’s the good news…

Local pension funds in RI operate with little supervision

Although the majority of state and local workers with government pensions are enrolled in large, state-managed systems, about three million government employees and retirees are covered in some 3,400 locally sponsored pension funds run by cities, towns, counties and school districts, according to the Government Accountability Office. Many are quite small and some operate without much supervision. A newly published investigation by WPRI in Providence of 24 local government funds in Rhode Island, for instance, found that many couldn’t even supply reporters with basic financial information…

38 Studios, chapter one

Curt Schilling was one of the great big-game pitchers of his generation, so much admired for his talent and character that, upon retirement, he was sometimes mentioned as a potential US Senate candidate. He dabbled in politics, but his true passion was the video game company he …

Worcester v. Providence: Is downtown revitalization the sum of urban revitalization?

Cross-posted at Urbanophile.com
Worcester, MA and Providence, RI invite comparison for at least four reasons. They’re the same size (pop. ~180,000), they share the same history of deindustrialization and urban decline, they’re only 40 miles apart, and they’re different, which makes comparison stimulating and worthwhile. By …

RI bill seeks to bind schools to costly arbitration

In November I wrote about how onerous binding arbitration laws in some states hamstrung local communities when unelected arbitrators awarded big raises and benefit boosts to government employees despite the fiscal constraints of the Great Recession. Scranton was a notable example of a city that …

RI pension case goes to court

Perhaps the most closely watched lawsuit challenging state pension changes gets its day in court today, as the state of Rhode Island seeks to have a judge dismiss the suit by government unions, who claim the pension changes are unconstitutional. The importance of this case …

How bad (or good) are new state pension plans?

Reading the Washington Post’s story earlier this week on the bleak retirement outlook for younger workers, you would think that new government workers starting in places like Rhode Island, which recently enacted pension reform, face the same kind of dim outlook as struggling private workers. The story notes that not only are many private companies  transforming their pension systems into cheaper models to reduce the costs, but that states are doing something similar. Yet  the story glosses over the fact that these new state pension systems are still generous compared to the private sector, even though they are less generous than what state workers have been receiving. Consider the example of Rhode Island.