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Rhode Island may have to re-evaluate the unfunded liabilities of its statewide and teacher pension plans, according to a recent independent audit.

The state’s treasurer took drastic measures in 2011 to dig the state out from under crippling pension plan liabilities. As part of its efforts, the state Retirement Board lowered the assumed rate of return on its pensions from 8.25 percent to 7.5 percent, to more realistically match current rates of return. The new audit, conducted by Cheiron, pointed out that the 7.5 percent figure was not even close to what the state has actually achieved in returns during the past five years. It encouraged the state to lower its rate of return even further, which will negatively impact the state’s pension liabilities.

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