Task Force Launches Municipal Pension Reform Website

Pension Data added for 1800+ Police and Fire Retirees for Central Falls, Warwick, East Providence, and Newport

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 20, 2012

Providence, RI – As part of National Transparency Week, the Rhode Island Center for Freedom and Prosperity announced today the posting of new pension data on its popular transparency website, www.RIOpenGov.org . The site has also been reconfigured to host the work of its national Task Force on pension reform, as the debate about municipal pensions heats up in Rhode Island.

The previously announced Task Force, which will focus on the City of Cranston, has a stated goal of providing detailed research and analysis about the municipal pension crisis that may be useful to other localities in the Ocean State and across the country.

The RI Center for Freedom’s open government website has recently added multiple new modules:

* Cranston and Municipal Pension Home Pages; www.RIOpenGov.org/Cranston and www.RIOpenGov.org/municipal-pensions ,where research and analysis from the Task Force will be posted

* Interactive pension data from locally run retirement plans, including; 132 police and fire retirees from Central Falls, 880 retirees from Warwick, 206 from East Providence, and 177 from Newport. Cranston pension data for 426 retirees was previously posted.

The interactive data displays for these 1800+ local retirees complements the 26,598 state retiree records that were previously available to review on www.RIOpenGov.org/state-pensions.

The Cranston Municipal Pension Home Page includes multiple analysis of how Cranston police and fire retirees receive higher pension benefits than their statewide peers, as well as details of the generous Holiday Pay that Cranston retirees continue to receive at taxpayer expense.

The Municipal Pension Home Page includes links to all local retiree pension data displays, as well as general analysis of the overall local pension crisis.

The Task Force members, who will provide commentary and analysis and who may participate in statewide forums or committee hearings in the General Assembly, include Eileen Norcross of the Mercatus Center, Rich Danker of American Principles Project, Bob Williams of State Budget Solutions, and Mike Stenhouse from the RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity.

Additional bio information for Task Force members can be found on the Center’s website at www.RIFreedom.org/pension-reform.

For over 25 years, the Mercatus Center at George Mason University has been the world’s premier university source for market-oriented ideas-bridging the gap between academic ideas and real world problems. A 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization located on George Mason University’s Arlington campus, Mercatus works to advance knowledge about how markets work to improve our lives by training graduate students, conducting research, and applying sound economics to offer solutions to society’s most pressing problems.

American Principles Project is a Washington-based 501(c)3 organization. Founded by Princeton Professor Robert George in 2009, last year it became the first public policy organization to sponsor a presidential debate, which was shown on CNN. APP works across three areas: economic policy, education, and Hispanic outreach. It’s economic initiatives are public employee pension reform and monetary policy reform. It has worked to promote awareness of the public pension crisis and proactive reform ideas.

State Budget Solutions, a non-partisan organization advocating for fundamental reform and REAL solutions to the state budget crises, is a non-partisan, positive, pro-reform, proactive organization that is anchored in fundamental-systemic solutions.

The Rhode Island Center for Freedom and Prosperity, a non-partisan public policy think tank, is the state’s leading free-enterprise advocacy organization. Firm in its belief that freedom is indispensable to citizens’ well-being and prosperity, the Center for Freedom’s mission is to restore competitiveness to Rhode Island through the advancement of market-based reform solutions.

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