Analysis

Rhode Island Plan Enacts New Approach to States' Pension Woes

Faced with rising pension costs, Rhode Island passed a set of reforms to its public sector retirement system that go further than what any other state has done. The bill is unprecedented, both in terms of the employees it will affect and the scope and scale of changes to their benefits.

Advocates of the reforms claimed they are needed to curb expanding costs that, left unaddressed, could have had severe impacts on state finances and taxpayers. Opponents, including unions, claimed the measures went too far and put workers’ retirement security at risk.

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