A crucial vote on the City of Houston’s pension reform is coming up in the Texas Legislature after the State Senate passed its version of the bill on Monday.
The House of Representatives is scheduled to vote on the bill this Saturday, May 6th, and Mayor Sylvester Turner is pushing for the bill to pass in the lower chamber.
With that goal, the Mayor will go to Austin this week.
Turner says he is very confident the House will pass the bill, but his many years as a member of the lower chamber make him aware that he must persevere.
“That’s why I’m on the phone even now, calling members one by one asking for their support because you can’t assume, you can’t take anybody for granted,” Turner commented on Wednesday after the City Council meeting.
The Mayor has noted one of the main assets of the pension reform is that it would eliminate the City’s debt in 30 years.
Brandon Rottinghaus, a political science professor at the University of Houston, says Turner’s mission at the State Capitol is clear.
“The strategy here is to target the members who might be reluctant,” notes Rottinghaus “and to be able to convince them that this is a good for the city and really a necessary thing for the Houston economy.”
The firefighters’ pension fund still opposes the reform because it argues it will unfairly reduce benefits for active and retired firefighters.
On that note, Turner maintains the plan has been designed in the best interest of all City employees.