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Solving Houston’s Pensions: Tuesday’s Show (February 9, 2016)

The problem is well-documented by now. The City of Houston has growing and unfunded pension obligations to meet but is limited by state control and a revenue cap. Back in September, the Houston-based nonprofit Laura and John Arnold Foundation laid out this challenge facing the city in a report entitled “Swamped: How Pension Debt is […]

Photo: Michael Hagerty, Houston Public Media

The problem is well-documented by now. The City of Houston has growing and unfunded pension obligations to meet but is limited by state control and a revenue cap. Back in September, the Houston-based nonprofit Laura and John Arnold Foundation laid out this challenge facing the city in a report entitled “Swamped: How Pension Debt is Sinking the Bayou City.”

On this edition of Houston Matters, we bring together the foundation’s Josh McGee, UH Economic Professor Steven Craig, and Houston Controller Chris Brown to discuss what options exist to address Houston’s pension challenges.

Also this hour: In recent years, the Texas Department of Public Safety has warned against spring breakers traveling to the Gulf Coast crossing into Mexico. And the U.S. State Department's renewed its warning about the risk of violence against Americans heading into certain Mexican states. And yet, is Mexico more or less violent a country than it was a few years ago? What impact can repeated warnings have on tourism in Mexico and in Texas towns along the border? How seriously should those warnings be taken? How can they be squared with efforts to highlight Mexico as a destination spot? We talk it over with Ana Beaven, the owner of Cuchara Restaurant in Houston, and Tony Payan, Director of the Mexico Center at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy.

Then: We talk with Dr. Bill Gilmer, director of the Institute for Regional Forecasting at the University of Houston's Bauer College of Business, about his 2016 economic forecast for west Houston.

Plus: At the end of the month, The Houston Chronicle will complete its move to a new building. The Chronicle leaves behind its original location on Texas Avenue, which was sold to a developer last fall. We talk with Houston Chronicle Chairman Jack Sweeney about the history and significance of that building.

Houston Matters offers a free daily, downloadable podcast here, on iTunes, Stitcher and various other podcasting apps.

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Craig Cohen

Craig Cohen

Executive Producer/Host, Houston Matters

Craig Cohen is the executive producer and host of Houston Matters, which airs weekdays at 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. on Houston Public Media, News 88.7 FM. Craig is a 20+ year veteran of broadcast journalism. He's spent the bulk of his career in public media, in roles ranging from programmer...

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