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Raimondo fires back at criticism from mayors on locally run pensions

October 20, 2011

State Treasurer Gina Raimondo is responding to criticism from mayors about what they call shortcomings in her approach with Governor Lincoln Chafee to correcting severely underfunded locally managed pensions.

Raimondo pointed to the 10 months she spent crafting a proposal to address the state pension system. The same rigor, she said, should go into studying and responding to the locally managed pensions:

You can not solve a problem if you do not know the size. Now if a mayor, any mayor, let’s say Mayor [Angel] Taveras of Providence, decides it is an absolutely urgent problem to fix, for example, the firefighter pensions in Providence, then he should do that right now.

He could pass an ordinance right now to fix that problem, and that ordinance would face the identical legal challenges to a state statute.

As a prudent executive in the state system, I’m saying we need time to further study and lay the groundwork. If the mayor disagrees, and he’s the mayor, he knows better than anyone, is there a compelling state interest to move forward now, I’d encourage him to do that.

Raimondo made the statement during a taping of RIPR’s Political Roundtable.

The treasurer, a former venture capitalist, also offered her reaction to the Occupy movement and the US Justice Department’s decision not to prosecute a co-founder of Countrywide Financial. Naturally, she found a way to tie the topic to pensions:

I think there is work to be done to police financial regulation. It’s not at all a surprise to me that we have protests on Wall Street. One of the greatest problems facing this country is income inequality, and that’s why I’ve dedicated my life and the past year to fixing the pension — because we need jobs.

If you don’t want Wall Street to be occupied, you need good-paying jobs with good benefits, and we need that in Rhode Island right now.

Roundtable airs Friday at 5:40 and 7:40 am and online.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Mister Guy permalink
    October 21, 2011 12:42 am

    “Raimondo pointed to the 10 months she spent crafting a proposal to address the state pension system.”

    Who cares?? Please…that someone spent less than a year coming up with a plan (that she said would be revealed much earlier than it actually was) is a specious argument for supporting such a plan.

    “You can not solve a problem if you do not know the size.”

    The actual size of these kind of (pension) problems have a huge amount to do with what assumptions one makes for the future, which is always going to be uncertain. That’s yet another specious argument.

    “If the mayor disagrees, and he’s the mayor, he knows better than anyone, is there a compelling state interest to move forward now, I’d encourage him to do that.”

    LOL…if there’s “a compelling state interest” to move forward now to deal with the local pension systems, then it’s up to *the state* to “move forward now”. Come on Mrs. Raimondo…you can do better than this kind of silly rhetoric.

    “One of the greatest problems facing this country is income inequality, and that’s why I’ve dedicated my life and the past year to fixing the pension — because we need jobs.”

    Jobs that have not-so-good benefits apparently…ugh…like not having the equivalent buying power that one enjoys today (by getting rid of COLAs for some two decades) by a rate of somewhere between 40-60%!

  2. Craig O'Connor permalink
    October 21, 2011 1:11 pm

    Ms. Raimondo – you are proposing to take millions and millions out of the RI economy and harm the buying power of tens of thousands of people. Exactly how is that going to help create jobs in RI? It’s nice to see that you are using the pension fight to build a campaign for governor, but you are hurting people and letting the rich get away with screwing us once again. The pension system lost $1.8 billion in the collapse. You want to fix the pension system? Bring suit against these banks and financial monsters that ruined millions of lives. Short of that, you are one of them.

    • Mister Guy permalink
      October 21, 2011 8:48 pm

      She’s totally ruining her chances at ever being Governor of RI. I wouldn’t vote for her if she paid me to!

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