government

Finance committees approve pension reform bill

JIM BOWEN, VIA FLICKR / CREATIVE COMMONS
SWEEPING reforms to the state’s pension system easily cleared two key legislative committees Thursday night, paving the way for a vote on the overhaul bill by the full House and Senate as early as next Thursday.
Posted 11/11/11

PROVIDENCE – Sweeping reforms to the state’s pension system easily cleared two key legislative committees Thursday night, paving the way for a vote on the overhaul bill by the full House and Senate as early as next Thursday.

The House Finance Committee approved the bill 13-2 and the Senate Finance Committee approved the bill 10-1.

The bill, which includes concessions made to workers and retirees Wednesday that would allow for five-year cost-of-living increases and for some worker to retire before they reach social security age, received a series of last-minute amendments Thursday that did not appear to change the fundamental elements of the bill proposed by the Treasurer Gina Raimondo and Gov. Lincoln D. Chafee.

The pension overhaul, which is being watched in states across the country with poorly funded retirement systems, is expected to cut around $3 billion from the state’s $7.3 billion unfunded pension liability.

The bill will suspend the annual cost-of-living increases retirees get now, raise the retirement age for most workers and place workers in a new hybrid pension plan with defined benefit and defined contributions.

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