Updated March 31 at 8:31pm

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RIPEC endorses pension overhaul bill

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PROVIDENCE - The Rhode Island Public Expenditure Council is endorsing the pension overhaul bill slated to be voted on by lawmakers Thursday.

In a report on pension reform released Tuesday, the nonpartisan think tank estimated that total government contributions to the state pension system next year will double to nearly $700 million, slightly more than state officials estimated when they released the bill, if no reforms are passed.

“Funding the current obligations without reform will crowd out spending on other programs or initiatives as pension costs consume a larger share of revenues,” said RIPEC executive director John Simmons in a statement announcing the release of the report. “Alternately, supporting these obligations will require an increase in revenues, which the state can ill afford, particularly at the local level where property taxes are already among the highest in the country.”

The statement said the bills as written “provide an opportunity for the state to comprehensively reform the state’s human resource system into one that is responsive to the needs of the current workforce.”

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