Speaker Fox says pension overhaul might be a two-step process
House Speaker Gordon Fox says the General Assembly may pass pension overhaul legislation in two steps, starting with the state retirement system and then
staying in session returning in January to tackle the 36 locally managed pension plans outside MERS (the Municipal Employees’ Retirement System). [Fox spokesman Larry Berman called this afternoon to make the timing clarification in the preceding sentence.]
“That may be what comes out of this,” Fox said today during a taping of Rhode Island Public Radio’s Political Roundtable. “You know the internal dynamics — how many times can you ask your members to keep taking bites at the same issue?”
These are politically charged issues, so there is some tension to get it done in one fell swoop. You have the public on notice. You have the public energized, if you will. But at the same time you want to do it right. So that [two-step approach] may well, very well, be where we end up coming, sort of a bifurcated process with this.
In related news, Fox said “you have to address” the contentious COLA and retirement age issues for an effective pension overhaul, since they’re such significant factors in the state’s unfunded liability. He says talks are ongoing.
I’ll have more from our conversation later in today’s Rhode Island Tip Sheet.
Political Roundtable airs Friday during RIPR’s Morning Edition at 5:40 and 7:40 and online.