November 15, 2016      5:52 PM
Mayor Turner: We are marching to Austin together to pass pension deal
Veteran of the Legislature prepares for one more heavy lift at the Texas Capitol: “It’s not a political plan. It’s a substantive fix…that should trump any of the people who want to play politics with it.”
– Mayor Sylvester Turner is a man on
a mission. The mission: Solvency.
by his financial and legal advisors in his slightly cluttered office on the
third floor of Houston City Hall, the Democratic veteran of the Legislature
who found ways to be an effective lawmaker under very different Republican
Speakers of the Texas House – Tom Craddick and Joe Straus – spoke at length about the details of his plan to fix
the city’s pension problems.
a problem that has plagued the city over the course of multiple administrations,
weakening the economic powerhouse’s financial stability. And it is not
hyperbole to say the City of Houston's pension liabilities are gigantic.
previous estimates put Houston's pension underfunding at $5.6 billion, Turner's
administration pegs it at $7.8 billion. That's because he's using a more
realistic rate of investment returns of around 7 percent instead of 8 to 8.5
stakeholder groups agreed along with the Houston City Council, the ambitious
proposal still faces one more major hurdle: A heavy lift at the Texas
Capitol, where lawmakers will have the final say over a plan that Mayor
Turner insists must be passed in its current form.
By Scott Braddock