5/19/11

This Just In....

Thanks to General Treasurer Gina Raimondo, the pension problem has now reached critical mass and our political leaders have awakened from their long stupor to the pressing need for action. It now appears likely that a commission will meet over this summer to get a full handle on the problem and arrive at a set of permanent fixes that will then be legislated in a special session this fall. This is the first encouraging news on the pension situation in a long time, and it comes at the end of the 11th hour to midnight. There is consensus at last that the issue needs to be tackled in a comprehensive manner, with everything on the table. As always, we have to be careful and remain wary that the labor-dominance on Smith Hill doesn't attempt to limit the reform process, lest we end up with a series of half-baked measures that don't remove the enemy at the heart of the state's structural financial problem: the unfunded liability. But for now, the news is most welcome.

2 comments:

  1. Kudos to Ms. Raimondo and for a commission working over the summer. However, let's be real (and you do point this out - "Let's be careful and remain wary..."). It was just 30 or so days ago that Speaker Gordon Fox called the Governors sales tax proposal dead. Just above everyone in the state went back to hibernation and just two days later the RI Tea Party hosts its smallest rally yet.

    And, for the past two weeks Senate Labor committee has super pro-labor bills on the table with little advance notice to media and constituents, including trying to make pension benefits carry real property rights. Show me a state in the U.S. that extends such to pension benefits. What potential legal precedent would this set for all pension plans, public or private? Another measure against taxpayers and potentially businesses that would drive businesses like yours out of RI.

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  2. Somehow I fear that in the end, the status quo will be maintained by simply "kicking the can down the road" politics.

    The General Assembly is far to influenced by big labor and self entitlement. It has been that way for years and I don't see much change considering the current crop of politicos who are in charge.

    Solving the pension crisis will have to include cutting of benefits for all but especially at the high end, greatly modifying health care provisions and a hefty increase on employee contributions.

    Until the hard decisions are made, look for more of the same old rhetoric...

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