- Associated Press - Monday, February 24, 2014

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - An influential rating agency is praising a proposed settlement in the legal challenge to Rhode Island’s landmark pension overhaul.

Moody's Investors Service said on Monday that the deal would be a “credit positive” for the state and its cities because it “only modestly” reduces government savings from the 2011 law.

The settlement was announced this month as a way to resolve legal challenges filed by public-sector unions and retirees.

The deal would roll back some of the law’s changes and give retirees modest pension increases. It would increase annual government pension costs, beginning with $24 million more in fiscal year 2016.

Moody's says the increases are a fraction of the billions of dollars the law will save in future decades.

The settlement must be approved by unions, retirees and state lawmakers.

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