PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) - A major report on Rhode Island's looming pension crisis was released Monday afternoon.
General Treasurer Gina Raimondo revealed the scope of the state's pension crisis in a 14-page report titled Truth in Numbers.
Raimondo made several radical recommendations including a higher retirement age, reduced benefits, suspension of the annual cost-of-living-adjustments paid to current retirees.
The study cites an actuarial estimate - suggesting the unfunded liability for state employees' and teachers' pensions will be about $9 billion - using private-sector accounting rules.
The report also offers a brief account of how the pension fund got in such poor shape, why the problem is set to get worse, and why Raimondo believes quick action is needed.
It also tracks decades of decisions made by state lawmakers - saying their political decisions left Rhode Island with a significant unfunded pension liability. One passage even reveals many retirees can earn more in retirement annually than a current employee in the same job position earns today.
For taxpayers, the report offers some frightening statistics. It notes annual contributions to public-employee pensions have already doubled from $139 million in 2003 to $302 million in 2010.
It goes on to say that total will likely more than double again to nearly $622 million in 2012 - and soon exceed one billion dollars.
Raimondo has offered a framework and possible solutions to help solve the pension crisis.
Assembly leaders responded to Raimondo's proposed state-run pension system changes saying, "The General Assembly is ready to continue the task of reforming the State's pension systems to protect the long-term financial security of the State. While recently enacted reforms are saving taxpayers over $100 million annually, it is clear that we have additional work ahead of us."
The Rhode Island State House is staying open late this weekend so residents can check out its holiday decorations.
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