Houston Matters

A Closer Look at Mayor Turner’s Plan for Pension Reform

Posted on · On Tuesday (Sept. 20, 2016), the Kinder Institute for Urban Research held a panel discussion on the future of Houston’s pension system. The discussion came just a few days after Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner announced an “historic” pension reform plan. We discuss the mayor’s plan and what hurdles remain to address the city’s unfunded pension […]

Good, Bad and Ugly

Ending the Revenue Cap, and Houston-Themed Fashion: The Good, Bad & Ugly of This Week’s News

Posted on · A lot can happen in a week. Some of it good. Some of it bad. Some of it downright ugly. When faced with intriguing developments in the week’s news, we turn to our rotating panel of “non-experts” to parse The Good, The Bad and The Ugly of it all. On this edition, we discuss Mayor […]

Houston Matters

What Exactly Caused Houston’s Pension Problem?

Posted on · Last week (Aug. 9, 2016), Rice University’s Kinder Institute for Urban Research released a report highlighting the current financial state of Houston’s pensions. The report lays out why the city’s unfunded liabilities are growing, and offers options for reform (though it does not make any recommendations about those options). We discuss the report with Bill […]

Houston Matters

Dueling Visions On How to Solve Houston’s Pension Problems

Posted on · Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner has thus far insisted that however the city’s pension woes are resolved won’t include changing from a defined benefits to a defined compensation system. We explore the differences between the two structures. We also consider what each means for city employees and why the mayor and the city’s three pension boards […]

Politics

Congress Aims To Improve Social Security Benefits For Public Sector Workers

Posted on · Teachers, firefighters, and police officers often have to take a second job in order to make ends meet. In Texas and many other states, that often means they lose some of their Social Security benefits when they apply for their government pensions. Rep. Kevin Brady is leading a bipartisan effort to change that.

Houston Matters

How Realistic is Solving Houston’s Pension Problem with Oil Prices So Low?

Posted on · 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 […]

Full Show

Mayor Annise Parker Fields Your Questions: Friday’s Show (Aug. 7, 2015)

Posted on · Annise Parker has a lot to juggle in her role as mayor of Houston: There’s management of the city, ensuring that all of its laws are properly enforced. There are ceremonial duties, as the city’s official representative at special events, ribbon cuttings, and meetings with officials and dignitaries. There are appointments to make; budgeting to […]

Houston Matters

Could Houston Become Another Detroit?

Posted on · Moody’s Investors Service recently affirmed the City of Houston’s Aa2 credit rating. It’s a good grade, based on a generally robust economy. But Moody’s also changed its outlook for Houston from “stable” to “negative.” Why? The city’s growing pension costs — $3 billion and counting. Houston is hardly the only city in America facing looming pension obligations, […]

Full Show

Paxton Indictment and Houston’s Financial Struggles: Monday’s Show (Aug. 3, 2015)

Posted on · The New York Times reports a grand jury has indicted Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on multiple felony charges. According to The Times, the attorney general is facing three counts of securities fraud, including failure to register with the state securities board. The charges are set to be unveiled as early as today, the same day […]

Good, Bad and Ugly

Houston’s Credit Rating, Renaming Dowling Street and Carli Lloyd: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly of Houston News

Posted on · From Houston’s pension problems affecting the city’s credit rating, to a call to rename Houston’s Dowling Street, to Houston Dash player Carli Lloyd shining during the FIFA Women’s World Cup: we discuss The Good, The Bad and The Ugly of this week’s Houston news. This week’s panel of non-experts is comprised of: Joe Holley, “Native Texan” columnist for […]