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Video Presentation Breaks Down RI Pension Settlement Deal

A video explaining the details of the pension settlement between public employee unions and retirees challenging the Rhode Island state-run pension system was released Friday.

Here's the full 27-minute video.

George Costanza February 14, 2014 at 06:18 PM
Don't panic folks. The state pension system is only $5.4 B unfunded. The City of Newport Police, Fire, and municipal pensions are only $100 million unfunded. I am sure the 40% of the 23,000 residents who actually pay taxes here will easily be able to make up the difference.
Larry Gotch February 15, 2014 at 12:02 PM
It is common knowledge that 100% of the taxes are being paid by a much smaller percentage of the those that benefit from these taxes. How can this out of balance situation be corrected? That is the question.
dphs18 February 15, 2014 at 12:40 PM
Nice of Richard Licht to help stick it to the taxpayers one last time before his democrat friends make him a Superior Court Judge.
Nelson Aldrich February 15, 2014 at 01:03 PM
Not a problem all...Raimondo's hedge funds are supposed to make up for the shortfall. That is, if you believe hedge fund managers really care about taxpayers and pensioners.
My thoughts February 15, 2014 at 01:07 PM
There are too many democrats in RI, that's why we are so poor. Too many "entitlements" given out. Maybe we should start with taxing welfare benefits....have them file taxes every year. why should only working people have to do that? After all, we are working to support them, meaning, those that sit in their pj's all day and go to Walmart. Since they use all city's and state's services more than real taxpayers, let them share the burden for a change. It's discriminatory to leave them out of everyday burdens that taxpayers face....
dphs18 February 15, 2014 at 02:33 PM
In RI the democrats are a finely tuned machine. They have all the votes from the people collecting the entitlements. They put on a full court press at election time hitting all the senior centers scaring the elderly people by convincing them that if they vote for the other guy they will be thrown out into the streets to die. Then they have all the folks who still think they're voting for JFK.
underwhelmed February 15, 2014 at 03:34 PM
The people of RI have no one to blame but themselves for all the continued ills of this state. In RI the mentality seems to be what is in it for me, regardless of what it is. Not how do we make it better for everyone. The myopic views of the taxpaying and voting public have always and will continue to keep RI at the rear of the pack in virtually every category. If in fact the taxpayers (note I did not say voters) really wanted honesty they would exert their collective and economic will to achieve that end, but they do not. There have been many opportunities to show the country that RI is not for sale. But at each opportunity the ball was dropped and only the familiar refrain of whoa is us is heard. This pension deal is just the latest but not the last! The last election cycle gave this state a golden opportunity to shine a beacon of light into the darkness we call RI. The people did not. The drumbeat of failure goes on and continues to show business that RI is not a state to invest in. I will not cite the long list of economic sellout deals that the taxpayers have paid for and will continue to do so. All of you know what I am talking about, just look at the last twenty years in RI. Personally, I have believed for a long time that RI will never be better, because the people do not want it to be better. The reasons do not matter anymore it is simply fact. It is a shame because a state of this size could have a quality of life that would be the envy of the country, yet we are the laughing stock. There is a reason that the last census showed only 2 states losing population and RI was one. The hand wringing and coffee shop indignation needs to be channeled into action, ie in the voting booth, but it never happens and never will. Unfortunately we are the ones to blame not the elected officials who do just what comes naturally in RI and why shouldn't they, we all allow it and I dare say condone it by our lack of actions. This is just another fine day in RI's sordid history.
Mew February 15, 2014 at 05:47 PM
underwhelmed, I was going to add my comment and then I read yours, not much else to say, you said it all!!! the State of R.I. is a sewer of corrupted union leaders who refuse to even listen to what this state could be, they just want their monthly checks and the HELL with the rest of us. We sure are the laughing stock of the country, just read the WSJ & NYT , it's embarrassing!!! and we also have to thank fox and paiva weed, they have not helped this state one bit. Very Sad Commentary.
Nelson Aldrich February 15, 2014 at 07:19 PM
Neither jrmb. Looking at Wall Street's track record I figure they'll get paid first before it collapses. That plan's out of control, the unfunded portion alone is almost as much as the entire state's budget for one year. Incredible!
Otto February 15, 2014 at 09:10 PM
Even if you keep voting them back in because of social issues, just give someone else a chance. Your friends and neighbors are out of work and need your help. If the new politicians screw it up even worse then you can vote the career politicians back into office.
Hound Dog February 15, 2014 at 09:15 PM
This so called settlement does absolutely nothing about the millions of $ of pension payments coming out of the pension fund every month for pensions that were never contributed for (all state troopers retired prior to 2009 & double dippers). The General Assembly created that mess Not the unions nor the many thousands of state, municipal workers & teachers who contributed to the pension fund. On top of that every judge who retired prior to 2009 also received pension payments from the pension fund that they never contributed to. That adds up to many more millions every month. Again the General Assembly created that. Jimmy Hoffa spent several years in a penitentiary for dipping into the Teamsters Retirement Fund & using it to give "loans" to people who had no claim to that $. Yet it's seems to be okay for an employer who in this case is the State of RI to do basically the same thing. And remember every state & municipal employee & teacher are also tax payers so we got ripped off twice. First our retirement $ is being given away & 2nd so is our tax $....As long as our retirement contributions are going towards those illicit pensions & their benefits I will not vote for this settlement. Let those pensions be mentioned in court & see how far that goes...Remember Raimondo's mantra & what she feels is a legally supported belief "that a current legislature should not & can not be bound by the decisions/commitments/guarantees of a past legislature." Well a past legislature created those illicit pensions so now do something about them. Not to the people whose $ the state is stealing to cover those illicit pensions....One more thing a past legislature created the lottery to help municipalities fund their school budgets to keep property taxes low. The state backed out of that decision too
Hound Dog February 15, 2014 at 09:25 PM
.....let me also point out that the only true "unfunded liability" are those many millions of $ in illicit pension payments every month. Because even during the years when the state didn't put in their matching funds the state & municipal employees & teachers who were actually members of the pension fund still contributed.
Einstein February 16, 2014 at 11:36 AM
Bitch, Bitch, Bitch... Guess who will re-elected in November? Democrats of course. Why? Because RI Voters are STUPID and never learn from their mistakes. Sorry, but that's the way I see it, and that's the way it is. Period.
Brew February 16, 2014 at 10:29 PM
The problem isn't dems vs reps. The problem is they are all sociopaths. If you didn't know better you'd think they were *trying* to destroy the state. Oh wait.
jack February 16, 2014 at 11:49 PM
As I mentioned before we are out numbered. Over the years the conservatives could see what was happening and moved out of State being replaced by Democrats. So if you want change move out of State or wait until the Democrats run out of money and become conservatives.
George Costanza February 17, 2014 at 12:51 AM
"Hound Dog" Nice rant... Let me explain how a pension works. You have contributions (from 1. employees and 2. the state) then you have investment growth. The contributions + growth should equal all the payments to be paid out over the life of the annuity. Problem #1: Some employees have more years receiving a pension than years they worked (due to longevity and ridiculously early retirement options) Problem #2: The State doesn't contribute it's required amount (a more recent phenomena when the Pension system payments exploded) Problem #3: The pension fund doesn't meet it's growth target (occurs often because the target rate of return is inflated to hide the pension deficiency). Problem #4: Public safety employees abuse overtime to retire with higher average annual salary values that inflate their pension. Problem #5: double dippers and others such as local committee members (like City Council) who earn nominal salaries and pay almost nothing into the system but end up collecting a full pension. Problem #6: COLA's transfer wealth from current employees to retired workers. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Just look at the numbers. Your average RI pubic employee who collects a pension, ONLY 13% of the money they collect is money they paid into the system, some is state contributions, some is appreciation from investments, and the bulk is cash from the taxpayers.
Proud Resident February 17, 2014 at 08:53 AM
Hound Dog seemed to have a point... Some do not share equal burden. Did the judges and troopers get hit hard by the pension reform? http://blogs.wpri.com/2011/10/12/ri-taxpayers-bear-biggest-pension-burden-for-troopers-judges/
Larry Gotch February 17, 2014 at 09:20 AM
This has been a very interesting and informative string. I wonder if it is getting to the right people?
Crystal Ball February 17, 2014 at 10:23 AM
Yea we need more people like George Bush, Don Carcieri and Ed Diprete..... This pension deal saves TAXPAYERS 4 BILLION dollars !!!!!!!
Otto February 17, 2014 at 11:25 AM
How about we stop the partisan nonsense and vote for the people who are committed to pulling this state out of the doldrums, regardless of political party.
Otto February 17, 2014 at 03:17 PM
I'm afraid you have me confused with our governor jrmb.
Bear Hunter 401 February 17, 2014 at 08:55 PM
Hey George nice numbers but just like the state you fail to show the negative impact of decades of pension payments to judges(until the state made a deal with them), troopers & double dippers have made on the pension fund & will continue to make from now until they & their spouses have passed on. Also I know for a fact that overtime does not contribute to how much you receive in retirement & never has for state employees. As a matter of fact most overtime comes from the cut back in people & positions who actually do the work in favor of more politically connected desk jockeys we don't need & never did. I worked for the state for over 30 years & saw it every day. One more fact. Judges & troopers have only been contributing to the pension fund since 2009. That means that from now into the foreseeable future all troops & judges who retire will only contribute for a small portion of their pension. It won't be until you get to those who were hired after 2009 that any of them will retire with a pension that they adequately contributed for. The state & municipalities didn't make their contributions because they claim they needed to spend $ in other places like schools & such. Lies. The fact is they "needed" to spend money to create more jobs for their cronies & the departments to put them in. And don't confuse municipal & state retirements. The city or town you live in created it's own mess for itself. Let's not forget that those corrupt thieves who sit in the state house came from every city & town in this state. So if they are involved in corrupt activities up there then they were also involved in corrupt activities where they came from. Has nothing to do with Democrat or Republican. It does have everything to do with the corrupt nature & culture of this state. We need a State Constitution that prevents the politicians from passing laws that are basically "legalized" corruption & severely punishes those that do. We need an AG who isn't part of the system to prosecute & put those clowns in jail. And we need an un-bias media who will put the all the facts out rather than the pick & choose media we have now who will expose what is really going on in that state house & town & city councils all over this state. Then & only then will the citizenry be able to make a truly informed & knowledgeable decision on any topic rather than having their minds made up & clouded from listening to the "masters of misinformation" on radio, TV & even places like this.
Bear Hunter 401 February 18, 2014 at 11:43 AM
I agree with you jrmb but only because the General Assembly is made up of mostly Democrats. If the numbers were reversed we would still be in the same mess. The State would be just as corrupt & crony infested as it is now. Don't think for one minute that if Republicans were in the majority that they would not participate in the same nefarious activities that the Democrats are participating in now because they most certainly would. It's part of the culture & fabric of politics in this state on every level from the city/town councils right up to & through the State House. Remember Harvard law professor Alan Derchsovitz(not spelled right) who defended Klaus Von Bulow? He tells his classes that if they plan on practicing law in RI to remember that everything in RI is political even the law. All I am saying is that Republicans will be & are just as shady as any Democrat in this state.
Larry Gotch February 18, 2014 at 12:27 PM
Unfortunately, Bear Hunter's observations are the same that I have heard often at many dinner table conversations. Back to my original question........What can be done about it? The first step in the problem solving process is to identify the problem. The second step is to examine all of the possible solutions. The third step is to choose the best solution and go with it. How do we proceed?
Hound Dog February 18, 2014 at 06:17 PM
Well jrmb they do bankrupt & rape the less fortunate which is just what the Democrats are doing now. Ask anyone who has to deal with the state run Medicare program that Carcieri(a Republican) set up. Did you know that the state gets a kickback out of what a retired state employee pays for that & it goes into the General Fund? It's quite possible they are also getting a kickback from United Health Care who Carcieri (a Republican) handed the state workers over to. Remember the investigation into the activities of the administration at the RI Vets Home here in Bristol? Every one of those administrators was protected from any disciplinary action by a Republican administration that was in the State House at the time. As a matter of fact one of them got promoted 4 times all the way up to acting Asst. Director of DHS just to pad his resume'. Promoted up from a position that had been created just for him a few years earlier. He's still at the RIVH too & still a completely unqualified crony in an administrative position making over $80k a year. Oh & before Carcieri & his "golden boy" Gary Alexander left they upgraded this crony's position giving him a yearly raise of several thousand dollars. Don't forget it was Carcieri who pushed the 38 Studio mess. See jrmb Republicans are no different when they are given the chance
Bear Hunter 401 February 19, 2014 at 09:43 AM
Well jrmb I hate to say it but you are an example of the media not informing the public. What Hound Dog has said is absolutely true. I know because I worked at the VH & still know people who do. Do or did you work there? Do or did you know anyone who does or did? I also have in my possession the 2 preliminary & the final report on the investigation at the VH. Maybe you should contact your State Rep & get a copy & read for yourself about the abuse of authority, harassment of not only employees but toward the residents & their families & the misuse of funds, etc, etc, etc.... I also know a retired state employee who is at this time trying to maneuver through the maze of red tape & BS in the state run Medicare program. And the state is getting a kickback from what it charges for Medicare. That was just mentioned on a local Fox 64 Sunday TV show called "The Money Pros". All of this happened while a Republican was in the Governors chair. Maybe you should also ask why the state run Healthcare Exchange has only 2 providers. I would like to know that too. Ma. has 8 or 9. Where is the competition in this state. And Carcieri did hand over the state employees to United Health Care. I was working for the state at the time. Were you? If not then you don't know about that. Did you know that former Gov. Almond (a Republican) found a fund which used to be called the 7710 Fund a fund that was supported by & to be spent on the veterans at the VH. That fund had $10 to $11 million in it when he found it. Well he grabbed it, put a cap on it at $3 million so now the state grabs every penny over that amount. The VH/Vets Affairs no longer has control over that fund and as a matter of fact it's not even called the 7710 Fund anymore & is controlled by the state. If you recall & maybe you don't Veterans Affairs was to be split off from DHS. Carcieri along with former Secretary of DHHS blocked that. Why? Was it because DHS & DHHS would no longer be able to skim $ out of the Veteran Affairs budget for capitol projects which what was happening? All this while a Republican was sitting in the Governor's Office. So when Hound Dog says that when given the opportunity Republicans are no different than Democrats ( in this state anyway) he is not wrong. And if you are not there to see all these things unfold then you don't know.....It's not your fault that someone on the outside looking in like yourself is misinformed. The political system & their friends in the media want you that way.
Larry Gotch February 19, 2014 at 12:03 PM
This string keeps raising more questions for me. Can those responsible for these egregious acts of misconduct be held responsible???
Bear Hunter 401 February 19, 2014 at 06:16 PM
Well Larry I think the question should be why were those responsible not held accountable/responsible. Heck there were even public hearings on those issues & others. Residents, their family members & employees all testified to encounters they had with the administrators. But some on the panel & administrators/management at DHS/DHHS & even some from the Governor's office said they didn't believe any of it or found it hard to believe & that was the end of it. Family members were tagged as "trouble makers" or "chronic complainers". Residents were tagged as "being a little off" & every employee who complained was "disgruntled". Same old tired rhetoric from the VH administrators & DHS/DHHS. Now several years later the hope is that everyone will forget & it will buried for good. But some of us are still around who remember & who witnessed their nefarious activities first hand. I mean a sexual harassment complaint against an administrator was even buried. The victim was even interviewed by some of the investigators she was deemed very credible but yet nothing came of that. Not even a word of it was mentioned in any of the reports. Though I believe she may have been threatened with something if she pursued it further or feared some other form of harassment towards her that would come as some sort of disciplinary action against her. I would suggest Larry that you do contact whomever are your Reps in your district & not only ask but demand that they send you the 2 preliminary & the final reports on that investigation. You know as well as I do if a regular Joe did anything half as egregious as these people did they would've been not only shown the door but some legal action would've been in the works too. But all this is for another story......This article is about what some are calling a pension settlement & what this settlement has avoided dealing with which are the pensions that were never contributed for by judges, troopers & double dippers that kicked a big hole in the pension fund & started it sinking like the freakin' Titanic.
Larry Gotch February 19, 2014 at 09:29 PM
Buddy made a point on TV recently about how so many people are leaving the state. Now I can understand why. If we continue to become top heavy, things will become unsustainable, then there will be a large unavoidable and painful problem. There is an old saying: Don't kill the goose that lays the golden egg. Will it live???

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