Bloomberg examines the high stakes of the RI pension lawsuit

Michael McDonald reports for Bloomberg News:

While the court action may take months or years, it’s being closely watched as it may provide guidance in other states where similar legal battles have arisen, said Amy Monahan, who teaches law at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. Rhode Island is also unusual because, unlike in California, where court rulings have sided with labor to protect benefits, there is little precedent to guide the outcome, she said.

“Other state courts will watch because they’d love to come up with a way to address this area that makes sense,” Monahan said, calling it “a compelling case.”

“Rhode Island has it all: a poorly funded plan and really widespread changes,” she said. …

The law provided “a dramatic punctuation” to efforts by U.S. state and local governments seeking to control retiree costs as pension-plan losses drained assets, said Ronald Snell, a senior fellow at the National Conference of State Legislatures in Denver. …

“[Raimondo] deserves credit along with others,” said David Walker, president of the Comeback America Initiative, a nonprofit public-policy group in Bridgeport, Connecticut. “She had the courage to campaign on the need for pension reform and to make tough choices, even in the face of significant union opposition.”

Read the rest here. The Newsmakers episode that the article references is online here.

• Related: Study: RI pension bill ‘a good approach’ – and it may be legal (Nov. 4)

(photo: Ted Nesi/WPRI)

7 thoughts on “Bloomberg examines the high stakes of the RI pension lawsuit

  1. “[Raimondo] deserves credit along with others,” Unless of course the courts up hold the law, then she’s a GOAT!

  2. The taxpayers had nobody at the table.The fix was in from the beginning.Greedy unions stole from the taxpayer for years.

    • I agree totally. I really do but does that make a difference as far as the law goes?? I would think not as it can’t be proven. But, the unions may be killing themselves if they win in court as a TON of workers would need to go asap.

  3. Raimondo did not campaign on pension reform. She campained on re-amortizing the pension fund.
    She is a sneaky self-serving liar. She took campaign contributions from people while promising to protect their pensions.

  4. I wonder about taking advise from a ex-partner of Enron’s auditors– Arthur Andersen. Who now hob-knobs with the Koch brothers at ALEC functions.

  5. Does anyone remember what John Robitaille campaigned on, and was subsequently defeated by a union whisker?

    John said he would freeze all previously earned pension benefits respecting all of what had been earned up to that point, and start a 401K savings plan from that point forward.

    For the teachers, that meant they could have their 9.5% employee pension contribution to invest as they wanted.

    Now if the unions do lose the legal battle in the US Supreme Court on a “state police powers” argument, the unions who paid with their dues to defeat John will have something to ponder during those “un-cola” retirement years.

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