This is a short guide to understanding the Rhode Island pension crisis. I’m not a financial guru, so please bear with me.
36.34% The state’s contribution rate to state employees’ pensions.1
8.75% The employees’ contribution rate to their pensions. 1
250% The growth rate of news articles that refer to Rhode Island as the already tired phrase:“Athens on the Pawtuxet” – and contribute nothing.
1986 General Assembly begins funding the plan on an actuarial basis. 2
1992 The year that actuarially required contributions to the pension fund were not made – due to the credit union crisis.2
2011 The year I had to look up what “actuarially” meant.
13350 The number of active teachers in Rhode Island. 2
2670 The approximate number of teachers in Rhode Island working second jobs. 3
310,556 The number of times per year teachers are annoyed by someone who assumes teaching is easy.
67% The percentage of Rhode Island government workers in union contracts. 4
67% The percentage of Rhode Island government workers who siphon funds from their earnings into the pension fund. 4
12% The percentage of pension funds siphoned back into the state’s economy via Twin Oaks.
10 cents on every state tax dollar is spent on retired state workers. 5
20 cents on every state tax dollar will be spent on retired state workers if no action is taken to reform pensions in the next six years. 5
30 cents on every dollar is what they’re getting right now for 75 Drachmae. (See the entry: 250%, the growth rate of “Athens on the Pawtuxet” and contributing nothing.)
3% The rate at which COLAs were compounded until late 2009.2
3%/the inflation rate/or lower The current rate at which COLAs are adjusted.2
3% The percentage of Rhode Islanders who think state workers get free cases of Dr. Pepper every year.
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