PROVIDENCE, RI – Public-employee unions won a victory last week when a judge ruled they have a contract right to their pensions. State Treasurer Gina Raimondo told legislators that the court decision won't be an obstacle to solving Rhode Island's pension crisis.
During a legislative pension briefing, several reps asked Raimondo about the impact of the court decision favoring the unions. Representative Scott Guthrie warned about moving ahead with pension changes and setting off a bigger court fight. In response, Raimondo noted that a key legal test for pension reform is whether it's reasonable and necessary for an important public purpose.
"We're working very hard to craft a bill so that you can be on a sure legal footing that the bill that you pass will, in fact, pass that legal test," she says.
Rhode Island's pension program faces a $7 billion unfunded tab. Without changes, the annual taxpayer cost of that will roughly double next year - to more than $600 million.
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