Rhode Island will ask the state’s Supreme Court to review a judge’s ruling that public pension agreements are a contract between the state and its employees and cannot be taken away “on a whim.”
Tuesday’s decision by Superior Court Judge Sarah Taft-Carter is certain to complicate the ongoing debate over how to rein in the ballooning costs of public pensions in the Ocean State.
It also allows eight public-worker unions to proceed with a lawsuit that seeks to block recent pension reductions.
Lawmakers are poised to convene a special session devoted pension reform next month.
Bob Walsh, executive director of the National Education Association of Rhode Island, says lawmakers should postpone the special session until the ruling’s implications are understood.
Estimates put Rhode Island’s unfunded pension liability at $7 billion.