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Josh Barro

Chafee's Confusion About Moral Obligation

Has Rhode Island's governor put bondholders above state workers? 

I had an odd conversation with Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee this week.

Chafee has been in the job since 2011. During that time, Rhode Island has endured some of the most intense fiscal stresses of any state. Several decades of economic underperformance have led to severely underfunded state and local public employee pension systems. The economic crisis of the last few years, which hit Rhode Island exceptionally hard, exacerbated those pressures.