Entries by Justin Katz

Small Pensions; Double (and Triple) Dipping

The Significance of Small Pensions In the public debate about suspending cost of living adjustments (COLAs) for retirees holding public-sector pensions, the most compelling argument addresses retirees whose income would drift below the poverty level as inflation erodes their pensions’ value.  It’s important to adjust one’s reaction, however, to account for the variation in individual […]

Pensioners Over Pay

On Sunday, I looked at aggregate data for Rhode Island public-sector retirees who are making more in retirement than they did while working. Aggregate data doesn’t really capture (or humanize) the matter, which justifies presentation of the numbers from the perspective of individual pensioners (while striving to be respectful of the individuals involved). The following […]

Pensions Beyond Pay

Among the more detailed features of the RIOpenGov.org pension page is the comparison of pensions against final average salaries. A push of the button on the “detailed search” tab shows there to be 3,298 pensioners whose retirements are paying better than their jobs ever did. These retirees are collecting $20,903,314 more from the state than […]

Removing Pension Dollars from the RI Economy

Rhode Island’s pension system sent $142,159,475 directly out of state, in 2010, to the 4,575 public-sector retirees who live elsewhere. That’s according to the RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity’s new RIOpenGov.org section on pensions. Overall, government pension payouts amount to approximately 1.7% of Rhode Island’s gross state product (GSP), and 17.2% of them support […]

Later Retirement Doesn’t Harm School Districts’ Payroll Costs

National Education Association of Rhode Island President Larry Purtill is gaining some traction with his claim that having teachers retire later will hit local communities in the payroll. As described in an October 25 Providence Journal story by Kathrine Gregg (not online): Sen. Walter Felag, D-Warren, asked the question that Larry Purtill, president of the […]

Hybrid Savings Mean System Failure

The only argument that I’ve heard against my suggestion that the proposed hybrid pension system will be more expensive than the current system is that the hybrid offloads market risk onto the employee, alleviating the risk to the employer (i.e., us, the taxpayers). Moderate Party founder and gubernatorial candidate Ken Block made the point on […]

As with Cars, a Hybrid Pension System Will Cost More

The complexity of the pension problem comes in the multiplicity of angles from which the numbers can be presented. When it comes to the cost of current employees’ pensions, General Treasurer Gina Raimondo’s hybrid pension system will cost more than the system that’s already strangling Rhode Island. The headline grabber — because it’s such a […]

Hybrid Pies

As much as I love text and tables, they do require quite a bit of background consideration before their more interesting revelations are truly visible. So, herewith, some pie charts to illustrate my core point on the matter of General Treasurer Gina Raimondo’s hybrid pension proposal. The first chart shows state workers’ arrangement currently in […]

Negotiating Points in the Pension Proposal

Underlying the policy complexities of the pension issue is the background give and take of financial interests and political careers. General Treasurer Gina Raimondo, for example, is free to propose pretty much anything and let the General Assembly take the heat for actual changes. As long as she stays off the unions’ “not with a […]