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Tue September 13, 2011
Public employees may be able to keep pension benefits
By IAN DONNIS
PROVIDENCE, RI – State Treasurer Gina Raimondo says it might be possible to solve Rhode Island's pension crisis without cutting public employees' earned benefits. She made that statement during a pension briefing to the state Senate.
A member of Raimondo's staff told senators that state employees aren't legally shielded from cuts to benefits they've earned. A short time later, Raimondo said she hopes to fix the state pension plan without cutting workers' accrued benefits.
"I would love to be able to craft a proposal that solves this problem and we can say to state employees, if you've earned it, it's yours, and I think that is possible, and that's why we're taking so long to carefully go through the numbers," she says.
The state pension plan has a $7 billion unfunded tab, and without changes, the cost of funding it will double next year, to more than $600 million. Raimondo says she plans to unveil her pension reform proposal for legislative consideration in early October.
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