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Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (AP Photo/Danny Johnston)

For many states and municipalities, the reality seems clear and ugly: figure out a way to reduce growing pension obligations or file for bankruptcy. 

In Rhode Island, state treasurer Gina Raimondo used the power of her office to suspend cost-of-living increases to retirees, lengthen the time required before workers can earn a pension and offer an alternative 401(k) plan to state workers, one that significantly reduces the amount the state has to contribute.

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