Providing retirement security for Rhode Island’s public employees and retirees is the top priority for Treasury. Effectively managing both the liabilities and assets of the retirement system requires constant monitoring and accountability.
A robust state retirement system plays a critical role in recruiting and retaining talented employees on whom we depend for quality public services, such as teaching in our schools, fixing our roads, protecting our environment and policing our streets and highways. Such a system is also designed to provide a level of secure income to these employees once they retire. To be viable, a state retirement system must be affordable for both the employees and the taxpayers who support it.
Historically, debate about the pension system began with a discussion of the state budget, and many reforms were designed largely to balance a particular year’s gap. In 2011, leaders took a different approach to solving this old problem. We began this time by defining retirement security and designing a system that provides security in retirement for our valued public employees, while necessarily addressing long-term structural concerns because no one is secure if they are promised a benefit that the state cannot afford.
Rhode Island Retirement Security Act
The passage of the Rhode Island Retirement Security Act of 2011 (RIRSA) allows state leaders to honestly tell public employees that their retirement is secure and ensure that future pension costs are predictable and sustainable for taxpayers.
After 11 months of study, public meetings, legislative hearings and candid conversations, the General Assembly held a special session to address comprehensive pension reform. The result is the Rhode Island Retirement Security Act that strengthens and modernizes the retirement system to ensure that retirement benefits earned are there for Rhode Island’s hard-working public employees.