Using Providence for Pension “Liability” Perspective

Pension actuaries use the word “liability” differently than the layman would. The total actuarial accrued liability of Providence’s pension system has been given as $1.3 billion, with about $0.4 billion in assets, but the liability as most people would probably conceive of it is more likely $5.7 billion, with the same $0.4 billion saved up to date.

04/24/12 – House Finance Committee

The House Finance committee hears a variety of tax proposals, mainly concentrating on taxing “the rich”; Justin writes live.

Providence Budget Illustrates Pension Charade

Inflated assumptions for pension system rates of return mean that the budget that Providence Mayor Angel Taveras unveiled this evening (and all current RI budgets) amounts to an accounting trick to disguise future tax increases and pension cuts.

The Meaning of “Legislation Last” in Pension Reform

Argumentation about the concept of “legislation last” when it comes to municipal pension reform appears to be an example of two sides talking past each other.

04/12/12 – RI Senate Finance Committee Hearing

Justin writes live and extemporaneously from the Senate Finance Committee hearing on Gov. Chafee’s municipal relief package of legislation.

State Pension Projections Versus Actual Results

At this morning’s workshop, Treasurer Raimondo’s news that the state pension has only been earning 2.28% return on its investments jarred disconcertingly against the actuary’s projections of what 7.5% and 5.0% returns mean for the future.

04/10/12 – General Treasurer Guide to Comprehensive Pension Reform Part II

Justin writes live from General Treasurer Gina Raimondo’s second comprehensive pension reform workshop for municipal leaders, Part II: Creating a Secure & Sustainable Pension Plan.

A Movable Threshold for Municipal Pension Adjustment

An argument about pension fund discount rates by the Mercatus Center and RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity illustrates the difficulty, and risk, of setting thresholds on the availability of pension reforms.

03/15/12 – House Finance Committee

Justin writes live and off-the-cuff from the House Finance Committee hearing on retirement contributions, dept. director salaries, corrections, board compensation, and holidays.

Merging with MERS Not so Simple, or Even Beneficial

As RI leaders begin to explore the possibility of moving local pension plans in the MERS, the only matter getting any clearer is that there’s no simple fix.

Video of 2012 RISC Winter Meeting

Video of RISC’s 2012 Winter Meeting, featuring Central Falls Receiver Robert Flanders, Cranston Mayor Allan Fung, Woonsocket Mayor Loe Fontaine, Providence advisor Gary Sasse, and Rep. Larry Ehrhardt.

Cranston Police and Fire Retirees Receiving up to $900 on Holidays

Cranston police and fire retirees are receiving double-and-a-half time for holidays that they do not work and would not be working, anyway.

Cranston Police & Fire Pensions 80% More Generous than MERS Peers, Other Plans Higher, Too

When it comes to the average annual pension payment given to its retirees in the state Employees’ Retirement System (ERSRI), Cranston pays only a few percentage points more than the average for all cities and towns; its local fire and police retirement plans, however, are dramatically more generous.

A Tale of Two Classes: Wealth Isn’t Irrevocable

Relying too greatly on debt and the great money shuffle to resolve poor financial and civic management in the past has a frightening upper limit.

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