RI unfunded pension liability climbs 27 percent


Amid an investigation by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission about the state’s bond offerings, Rhode Island’s retirement board is releasing a report that estimates the state’s unfunded pension liability is 27 percent higher than previously thought.

The SEC has indicated it’s interested in whether several states are adequately disclosing pension liabilities.

The board on Wednesday approved changing several assumptions it makes about the state’s pensions, including lowering the expected investment return and increasing the life expectancy of retirees. That’s bumped up the unfunded pension liability for state retirees and teachers by $1.4 billion to $6.8 billion.

It means taxpayers will have to pay tens of millions more into the system in 2013 alone.

A larger unfunded pension liability can also hurt the state’s bond rating, making it more expensive to borrow money. 

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