R.I. municipalities owe $5.1 billion in retirement, health benefits, report saysCategories: New England Developments,OPEB/GASB 45/75
Providence Journal by Tom Mooney, January 15, 2015
Left out of the 2011 law that overhauled the state pension system was any solution to the equally dire situation facing many Rhode Island communities with locally run retirement plans.
This week a commission that has spent three years studying the crippling impact of some of those local retirement obligations and possible solutions has issued recommendations for lawmakers that focus mostly on more state oversight. And the report includes some not so new, but still, sobering numbers.
For example: those 34 separate pension plans, in 24 communities, owe more than $5.1 billion in retirement and health-care benefits to current and future retirees. And two dozen of those plans are listed in “critical status,” meaning they have less than 60 percent of the necessary assets to pay those benefits.
The Locally Administered Pension Plans and OPEB Study Commission found that while some local plans have improved in the three years since the General Assembly ordered their review and corrective action, “the problems are in some instances both severe and urgent” and will require further state oversight.