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Thu November 10, 2011
The Pench What's Next: revised bill up for preliminary vote
By IAN DONNIS
PROVIDENCE, RI –
A revised pension overhaul bill unveiled Wednesday night tries to address two of the chief concerns cited by unionized opponents of the legislation. The House and Senate Finance committees are slated to vote on the bill this evening.
The original bill suspended pension cost of living adjustments for up to 19 years. The revised version allows for COLAs of up to four percent once every five years - but only if the state's investment portfolio hits certain benchmarks. The revised bill also changes the retirement age to get full pension benefits, from 59 to 67, depending on how much time someone has already worked. Senate Finance chairman Daniel DaPonte says legislators listened to criticism from public employees.
"I think that's a fair statement," DaPonte says. "I mean, that was one of the two largest complaints that we heard from people were, obviously, the age - going to age 67 - as well as the COLA change."
In a statement, State Treasurer Gina Raimondo says the revised bill keeps the pension system on a path to better health while steadying the cost for taxpayers. But Governor Lincoln Chafee says the legislation fails to address troubled municipal pensions. He plans to offer his own bill to help do that in January.
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