Houston Matters

Former Mayoral Candidate Bill King Takes Issue With Potential Pension Reform Deal

The Houston City Council this morning (Oct. 26, 2016) passed a resolution of support for Mayor Sylvester Turner’s proposal to reform the city’s pension system and address an unfunded liability in the billions, paying it off over 30 years. This, after the firefighters’ pension board Monday agreed to the plan which will, among other measures, lower the assumed […]

Photo: Michael Hagerty, Houston Public MediaThe Houston City Council this morning (Oct. 26, 2016) passed a resolution of support for Mayor Sylvester Turner’s proposal to reform the city’s pension system and address an unfunded liability in the billions, paying it off over 30 years. This, after the firefighters’ pension board Monday agreed to the plan which will, among other measures, lower the assumed rate of return on pension investments to seven percent, which Turner says is the current national trend for pension systems.

It’s not the plan Bill King wants. The former mayoral candidate still believes defined contribution plans are the only solution. He says Houston won’t be able to recruit qualified employees without one. When he ran against Mayor Turner last year, the Houston Chronicle cited financial experts who thought King’s plan would indeed save money over decades but would be costly up front.

We talk with King about his assessment of what still needs to happen to address Houston’s unfunded pension obligations, whether his approach can jibe with what Mayor Turner’s already proposed, and with Council having just signed off on Mayor Turner’s plan, whether the horse has already left the barn.

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