PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Governor Lincoln D. Chafee and General Treasurer Gina M. Raimondo today released the following statement:
"More than one year ago, Superior Court Judge Sarah Taft-Carter ordered the parties involved in numerous pension lawsuits from 2009, 2010 and 2011 into mediation. With the help of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, the parties to this litigation worked collaboratively on a proposed settlement.
"The proposal announced on February 14 retained the structural elements of the Rhode Island Retirement Security Act of 2011, and maintained 95 percent of the necessary savings for taxpayers. It also offered immediate benefits, certainty and predictability for our public employees and retirees. We believe this proposal was fair for our public employees, retirees, taxpayers and cities and towns. It was also well-received by the various rating agencies.
"We would like to commend and thank the plaintiff union leaders that worked closely with us over the last year to reach this settlement. And we would like to thank the large majority of their members who were willing to go forward with us to avoid lengthy and costly litigation.
"Due to a small group of union members the settlement agreement has failed and the mediation process has ended. We find this disappointing and frustrating.
"While we are disappointed this settlement was not ultimately able to come to fruition, we continue to believe that the pension changes enacted by our General Assembly are constitutional, the State has strong legal arguments to support its positions and will begin to prepare for litigation."
Background on RIRSA:
The Rhode Island Retirement Security Act was enacted in November of 2011 by a vote of 52 to 15 in House of Representatives and by a vote of 36 to 2 in the Senate and moves the state forward by:
- Allowing us to honestly tell our public employees that their retirement is secure
- Immediately reducing the unfunded liability by about $3 billion
- Saving Rhode Island taxpayers $4 billion over the next two decades
- Saving cities and towns $1 billion over the next two decades
- Ensuring that future pension costs are predictable and sustainable