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What should the state do now that police officers have scuttled the settlement of the pension benefits lawsuit?

Posted 4/13/14

Last week’s news that the police officer block of state employees had rejected the proposed settlement on the lawsuit filed by workers against the pension reform law of 2011, as well as earlier reform efforts, threw a wrench into the efforts of state officials and union leaders.

Superior Court Judge Sarah Taft-Carter ordered the parties to go back into mediation to see if a new agreement could be forged that would avoid a trial to decide the fate of the landmark legislation. It is not clear just what will happen now, but some end result is required in order for the state to set its spending priorities.

According to figures presented by WPRI.com, actuarial estimates show that with the original pension reform in place, the state’s mandated contribution to worker pension funds would be $486 million in fiscal year 2016. If the settlement reached through the court-ordered mediation were in force, the mandated contribution in fiscal 2016 would be $510 million. And if no reform were in place, the state would owe $886 million to the pension funds in question.

Long term, the state liability would be $4.8 billion under the original reform law, $5.05 billion under the negotiated settlement and $8.9 billion with no changes, according the news source.

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