Pell Calls for Increased Funding to Cities and Towns

 Pell Calls for Increased Funding to Cities and Towns

PROVIDENCE, RI - Rhode Island gubernatorial candidate Clay Pell today
pledged to double the Municipal Incentive Aid Program in his first budget
to limit the impact pension mediation will have on municipalities. The
settlement if approved is projected to cost municipalities approximately
$11 million in FY 2016.

"As governor, one of my highest priorities will be to strengthen our cities
and towns financially. My first budget will include a $10 million
appropriation to the Municipal Incentive Aid Program to limit the impact of
pension reform on cities and towns. If we're truly all in this together, we
should work to ensure property tax increases are not the result of changes
to the State's pension system," said Pell.

The Municipal Incentive Aid program was implemented to encourage
municipalities to improve the sustainability of their retirement plans and
to reduce unfunded liabilities by providing additional state aid to those
municipalities that comply with the requirements of the program. Currently,
thirty-eight cities and towns are eligible to take advantage of the $5
million program.

"Rhode Island has the highest unemployment rate in the nation. One of the
factors holding back our economy is the cloud of uncertainty that has
lingered because pension reform has remained unresolved. For the past two
and a half years, the state pension system has been fraught with
uncertainty. As governor, I will bring people to the table at the beginning
of the process to negotiate our collective problems. This approach did not
occur in the case of pension reform. What did occur is a process that has
cost the taxpayers of Rhode Island more than half a million dollars - and
it is far from over," stated Pell.

"That said, I am in favor of moving forward. The prospect of having this
battle unfold in a lengthy and costly judicial process with no certain
outcome is not an alternative I favor. I remain hopeful that the
uncertainty surrounding pension reform will be resolved this legislative
session so that we can turn our full attention to the economic growth and
job creation challenges and opportunities that lie ahead," said Pell.