Raimondo: Chafee will embrace bolder policies on pensions

General Treasurer Gina Raimondo says Gov. Lincoln Chafee’s preferred solutions to the pension crisis aren’t going to be enough – but she’s still confident he will support more sweeping changes.

In an interview Monday with Fox Business Network, Chafee offered three ideas for fixing the pension system – making changes that will affect new workers, re-amortizing the unfunded liability, and banking on higher investment returns.

Raimondo reiterated Thursday that those “absolutely” will not be enough to solve the problem.

“It is crystal clear … that this problem is mathematically impossible to solve by only impacting future employees,” she said Thursday during a taping of WPRI 12’s “Newsmakers.” Re-amortizing, or stretching out the state’s pension payment schedule, “is not a solution” because it would save money now but cost more later, she said.

Nonetheless, Raimondo emphasized that she and Chafee “are seeing eye to eye” on the pension problem. She praised him for standing with her at the unveiling of her pension report this week, proposing higher employee contributions to the pension fund, and leaving re-amortization out of his budget after she opposed it.

The governor’s comments on Fox “don’t worry me. They don’t,” Raimondo said. “He has proven to be interested and collaborative, and he listens to the facts. And I am confident that in the coming months I will be able to work with him with the facts, and walk him and his staff through the numbers, and we will together get to a solution that works.”

Raimondo, who met with state lawmakers Wednesday to brief them on her study, applauded House Speaker Gordon Fox and Senate President M. Teresa Paiva Weed for deciding to hold a special session of the legislature this fall to address the pension issue. Raimondo said a working group she plans to convene shortly will present its final proposal in time for the General Assembly to take it up then.

The full episode of “Newsmakers” will be posted online later today and air at 10 a.m. Sunday on Fox Providence.

Related | Chafee, Raimondo eye far-reaching pension changes (March 17)

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