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10 Worst-Off State Pension Funds

Rhode Island

Efforts are under way to overhaul Rhode Island's state and municipal pensions. The question is whether it is enough, and in time, to help its ailing cities.

On Tuesday, Standard & Poor's downgraded the credit rating for capital city Providence to BBB, just two ratings away from junk bond status. Just one day earlier, city officials unveiled a plan to trim upward of $16 million from its estimated $423 million in pension obligations, with much of those reductions coming from suspending cost-of-living increases as high as 6% per year. Future pensions will also be capped at one and a half times the median state household income (about $55,000).

Providence is hardly alone in facing pension problems. Neighboring Cranston has a mere 25% funding ratio for its pensions, a $245 million shortfall. Estimates for the unfunded liabilities for the 36 Rhode Island municipalities is estimated at between $2.4 billion and $6 billion.

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