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What pension problem?

To the Editor:

I must be mistaken. I thought I read somewhere that Rhode Island was considering pension reform. Something about too many generous pension deals. That must have been some time ago.

I notice that two luminaries, Senate Finance Chairman Daniel DaPonte (D-East Providence) and Rep. Donald J. Lally Jr. (D-South Kingstown), have sponsored a bill to allow state police troopers to receive increased pension credits for military service and maternity leave. They now can receive two years of credit but this will be raised to four years because other state employees have that additional benefit. It must be right (and not a real increase which we couldn’t afford if we were having a pension crisis) because others already have this benefit.

Of course it comes with the exorbitant price tag of 10 percent of the troopers’ first year salary times the number of years of military service, up to five years. The maternity leave credits must be purchased at the “full actuarial cost.” I’m glad we don’t have a pension problem and can continue to increase benefits. It’s great to have such a buoyant economy even with 11 percent unemployment and one of the highest tax rates in the nation. Maybe we can just increase taxes more to cover this.

David Quigley

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