Chart: The decline and fall of the Providence pension systemJanuary 25th, 2012 at 6:00 am by Ted Nesi under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site
It’s almost impossible to overstate the amount of damage done to Providence’s pension system by three decisions: the union-controlled Retirement Board’s costly COLA vote in 1989; Mayor Cianci’s consent decree agreeing to the COLAs in 1991; and the Rhode Island Supreme Court’s decision [pdf] upholding Cianci’s decree in 2000.
The crucial year on paper was 1996, when an earlier ruling first forced the city to acknowledge the pension benefits awarded in 1989 on its books. The city’s unfunded pension liability shot from $167 million to $412 million, and its funded level plunged from 64% to 41%.
Take a look at this chart – the bleeding hasn’t stopped:
More coverage of Providence’s pension crisis on WPRI.com:
- Providence is only no-show at Raimondo’s local pension event (Jan. 24)
- COLA means $796,871 pension for ex-fire chief if he lives to 100 (Nov. 30)
- Sen. Ruggerio tried to award 6% pension COLAs in Providence (Nov. 30)
- Mansolillo: Providence pension fund hit by ‘comedy of errors’ (Nov. 28)
- Chafee, Taveras plea for pension aid for ‘too-big-to-fail’ cities (Oct. 18)
- Providence pensions look like next target for Taveras, council (Oct. 7)