Texas Bill Could Shift Pension Control from State to Cities

Categories: Texas Developments
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San Antonio Business Journal by Kimberly Reeves, April 20, 2015

Texas business leaders see cities’ inability to control their own pension funds to be a liability that could slow economic development.

Rep. Jim Murphy, R-Houston, has filed a bill to shift the control of municipal pension funds away from the state and to local cities in House Bill 2608. Sen. Paul Bettencourt, R-Houston, who replaced Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick in the Senate, is carrying the companion bill in the Senate.

Control of public pensions traditionally belonged to the state, set by Texas law. Murphy and his conservative supporters want that control shifted to the local pension board, with pension terms defined by municipal ordinance.

“Looking at the boomtown that Houston is and the success that we’ve had with job growth 100,000 new jobs in the last couple of years, it’s a sad situation to see our problems on the pension side,” Bettencourt said. “It’s holding us down. We need a solution to the pension problem, and I look forward to a great debate.”

It’s late in the legislative session to be introducing a bill that could have an impact on as many as 100 pension funds across the state, both municipal and fire.

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