AFP on New Comptroller’s Report on Texas Public Liabilities

December 04, 2012

Statement by Peggy Venable, Texas Director, Americans for Prosperity
On New Comptroller’s Report on Texas Public Liabilities

AUSTIN – Texas Comptroller Susan Combs has released a report on the public pension plans in Texas. This report provides taxpayers and policymakers with insight into the obligations we as taxpayers have accrued and opportunity to determine policy changes necessary.

The report reveals that while most of Texas’ local pension plans are on track to be fully funded within 30 years. But the Teacher’s Retirement System of Texas (TRS) and Employees Retirement System of Texas (ERS),Texas largest state employee pension plans, given current contribution rates and promised benefits, are projected to never be fully funded.

Of the 81 locally funded pension plans, the most problematic is the Houston Municipal Employees Pension (HMEPS), the largest of the local plans, which currently consumes 13% of the Houston City budget but will grow to 17% in five years. None of the local pension plans in Texas has a 100 percent funded ratio.

We at AFP are also concerned about the over $1 billion in bond debt carried by Dallas, Houston and El Paso.

To protect both public employees as well as current and future taxpayers, Texas must continue to work to cut future taxpayer liabilities and increase the stability of these funds. Texas should also consider following the private sector lead and change public pensions moving forward from defined benefits plans to defined contributions plans.

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