"The new law shifts all workers from defined-benefit pensions into hybrid plans, which include a modest annuity and a defined-contribution component. It also increases the retirement age to 67 from 62 for all workers and suspends cost-of-living adjustments for retirees until the pension system, which is only about 50% funded, reaches a more healthy state."
"Because there has been little legislative or public support for raising taxes, the Ocean State has been cutting public services to pay its pension bills."
"Soon after she set to work on fixing the state's pension system, flouting the advice of her Democratic colleagues. 'Candidly, most people in my political circle told me not to do it because it is politically challenging and it's kind of the third rail,' she says. 'So most political advice I got was: Don't own the issue. Stay away from the issue. Put it on someone else.'"
It was great to read the article -- not just to learn about what she did but HOW she did it...she reached out to the unions and criss-crossed the state (okay well in RI that part's not hard) to explain why it was important.
The article hits upon the theme that you can't *just* jack up your property taxes endlessly. The problem with that is that people have the freedom to move. Central Falls, RI learned that the hard way -- when more residents then leave, a vicious circle is created by the decline in city revenue.
The second theme that it hits upon is a personal favorite -- preventing the system from falling off a cliff should NOT be seen as being anti-government or anti-government employees. In fact, it should be seen as the complete opposite: by saving the system from imploding, you're protecting the livelihoods and the retirements of the very people whose hard work keeps it running.