- AffiliationRhode Island
America’s smallest state just tackled one of the country’s biggest fiscal problems. Countless state and local governments struggle with underfinanced pension plans, and Rhode Island’s was one of the worst before 2014. That’s when Gina Raimondo, then state treasurer, engineered an overhaul that slashed cost-of-living increases and pointed the system toward solvency. Public-sector unions fulminated and sued, but voters rewarded Raimondo by electing her governor. In 2015 she negotiated legal settlements that preserved her pension reforms, inspiring hope in cash-strapped statehouses everywhere.