Houston pension reforms take another big step forward in Austin

On a 6-1 vote, the Texas House Committee on Pensions today sent the Houston Pension Solution on to the full house.


“I am thankful to the committee members and Chairman Dan Flynn,” said Mayor Turner. “Our solution continues to make historic progress in Austin. I am happy to see that our state lawmakers understand how important this is to Houston’s future.  We are going to keep up the pressure until our plan becomes law.”


The committee’s vote comes on the same day that former Houston Mayor Bill White joined the growing list of supporters for the Houston Pension Solution. His piece in today’s Houston Chronicle urging approval by the Texas Legislature can be read here: Bill White on Houston Pension Solution.


Today’s action by the House committee follows an earlier endorsement by the Texas Senate Committee on State Affairs. The Senate version includes a provision requiring a vote for the issuance of Pension Obligation Bonds (POBs).  The agreement between the city and the Houston Police Officers Pension System (HPOPS) as well as the Houston Municipal Employees Pension System (HMEPS) includes the issuance of $1 billion in POBs to replace existing debt the city already owes HPOPS and HMEPS – similar to refinancing a mortgage.


“The city continues to oppose the POB provision in the Senate measure, but prefers for the bill to continue to move along on the Senate side” said Mayor Turner. “Given the recent interest rate trends on Wall Street, taxpayers will have to pay more if we are forced to wait until a vote in November.  We owe this debt and need to be able to move forward to repay it as soon as possible.”


The Houston Pension Solution now moves forward for votes on the House and Senate floors.