State Rep. Jon Brien is leaning toward supporting the Raimondo-Chafee pension bill based on what he’s learned so far even though it includes reamortization, a policy he’s vocally opposed in the past.
“As it stands, I didn’t find that portion of ream to be nearly as nefarious as the effort that was put forward a few years back,” Brien, D-Woonsocket, told WPRI.com, describing a House-approved budget bill rejected by the Senate last year because it included “a complete and total refinancing” of the state’s unfunded pension liability.
Brien’s cautious initial support for the bill is a sign that Treasurer Raimondo and Governor Chafee – not to mention Speaker Fox – may be able to forge a coalition to pass a version of their bill through the chamber despite fierce labor opposition.
Brien said he thinks the best predictor of how the pension battle will end in the House is the chamber’s 33-39 vote earlier this year against an amendment that would have let state workers keep longevity payments. “I think the numbers will be right around there,” he said. (See below for the roll call.)