R.I. pension obligation to rise by $50 million

by News on March 30, 2011

in Government Employee Unions, Pensions, Pro Worker Legislation, State and Local, State Legislation, Union Contracting Privileges

By Katherine Gregg/The Providence Journal

Even with the increase that Governor Chafee has proposed in employee contributions, the taxpayer cost of providing a comfortable retirement for public-sector workers in Rhode Island will rise by $50 million next year.

Barring any major changes in benefits this year, the required state contribution to the pension fund for state employees will increase from 20.78 percent to 22.98 percent of payroll, according to the state budget office. That translates into a $20.5-million hike next year — from $129.4 million to $149.9 million — in the amount that taxpayers will have to pay to keep the state’s pension promises to state workers.

The required contribution for teacher pensions is rising even more — from 19.01 percent to 22.32 percent of payroll.

In dollars, that translates into a $30-million increase in the amount that state and local taxpayers have to pay for teacher pensions, from $170.7 million in state and local tax dollars this year to $203 million next year, according to the state budget office.

Including the relatively small amounts the state contributes to the pensions of state police and judges, the total taxpayer tab for these public employee pensions is rising from a projected $305.1 million this year to $358.7 million in the year that begins on July 1.


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