I wanted to see just how bad the unfunded pension plans in Rhode Island’s 39 cities and towns looked on a map. So we built the Rhode Island Pension Map, or the RIP Map. It’s pretty ugly.
It’s a realistic financial overview, not sugarcoated by politicians. No more hiding the liabilities with pie-in-the-sky expected returns of 8%. It’s based on Treasuries, thanks to the definitive work of Mercatus Center scholars Eileen Norcross and Benjamin VanMetre. The paint-by-numbers coloring of the map is based on the adjusted funding ratio calculated in their working paper, Rhode Island’s Local Pension Debts—that is, how much is in the bank compared to what’s been promised. The map should be green. Unfortunately, the map is about as green as the Sahara.