Public employee pensions up for review at budget hearings

Providence, RI – Increased pension contributions from public-sector employees will be on the agenda when the House Finance Committee resumes budget meetings tomorrow.

Governor Lincoln Chafee wants state workers and teachers to contribute a little fewer 12 percent of their pay toward their state pensions. State workers currently contribute just under nine percent, while teachers pay nine-point-five percent toward their pensions.

The increased contributions would generate about $40 million for the state pension fund. Chafee calls that an interim step before the state makes plans for addressing an estimated $5 billion in pension liability.

Union officials oppose the increased contributions. They say, in part, that taking $40 million out of the pockets of public-sector workers will hurt the economy. The House Finance Committee will take up the matter as part of its ongoing review of the state budget.

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