RI court hears arguments in pension case

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Associated Press

Posted on December 7, 2012 at 12:02 PM

Updated Friday, Dec 7 at 12:07 PM

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Attorneys for the state of Rhode Island and its retirement system have asked a judge to dismiss a lawsuit by public-sector unions over the state's landmark pension overhaul.

The state's lawyer told Judge Sarah Taft-Carter on Friday that unions haven't made their case and that retirement benefits set through state law don't constitute a contract.

Union lawyers argued that the state violated workers' contracts when lawmakers voted last year to cut benefits.

The hearing was the highest profile one yet in a closely watched legal dispute over the pension law.

State leaders insist that without the changes, pension costs will eventually swamp state finances.

The litigation could have national implications as states confront more than a trillion dollars of unfunded pension promises.

The judge did not say when she'll rule.

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