Rhode Island Cuts Pensions for New Judges, Cops

Published September 1, 2008

Rhode Island lawmakers have passed a nearly $7 billion budget that includes new pension eligibility rules and benefit cuts for judges and state police officers hired after January 1, 2009.

Troopers hired after that date will have to work 25 years instead of 20 years before qualifying for a pension that will pay them 50 percent of their final salary.

Judges hired after that date will see pension benefits cut from the current 100 percent of pay upon retirement at age 65 with 20 years of service (or 15 years of service if retiring at age 70) to 90 percent.

House Majority Leader Gordon Fox (D-Providence) told Providence Journal reporter Katherine Gregg after the budget passed in July, “The reforms in the judiciary and state police pension systems are consistent with the House leadership’s goal of long-term cost containment. There is a lot of pain that needs to be spread around and we believe that everyone should be doing their share to help resolve the budget crisis.”

The cost-containment measures follow reforms by Rhode Island lawmakers in 2005 to raise eligibility standards for state pensions for most other state workers with less than 10 years of experience.

Steve Stanek ([email protected]) is a research fellow at The Heartland Institute and managing editor of Budget & Tax News.