Texas Bill Seeks to Boost Employee, Employer Pension Contributions


The Texas House of Representatives unveiled a bill on Tuesday aimed at shoring up the funding status of its pension system.

The reforms specifically target members of the Employees Retirement System (ERS), which is 76 percent funded.

The bill would boost contributions to the System for both employees and employers.

More details from the Texas Tribune:

The roughly $440 million proposal would increase how much the state and its workers contribute to the Employees Retirement System pension fund, which currently holds just 76 cents for every dollar it promises retired workers.

Employees — who gave the plan mixed reviews — would get across-the-board pay raises to ease the strain.

“This is a balanced proposal to assure that neither the state employees nor our taxpayers are expected to fix the problem on their own,” said Rep. Dan Flynn, R-Van, who chairs the House Pensions Committee.

Under the plan, employees and the state would each boost their contributions to the fund to 9.5 percent of payroll by 2017 – 2 percent more than what each would chip in otherwise. Meanwhile, workers would see a 2.5 percent pay boost.

ERS is Texas’ second-largest pension system, with 230,000 members.

ERS Executive Director Ann Bishop testified in front of state lawmakers late last year and warned that pension liabilities, if not dealt with, could hurt the state’s credit rating soon.

Texas Employees Retirement System Hires Executive Director

Texas Proof

Porter Wilson has been tapped as the new executive director of the Texas Employees Retirement System. His hire was approved on Thursday.

Reported by Pensions & Investments:

Trustees of the Austin-based pension fund approved Mr. Wilson’s hire at a board meeting on Thursday to eventually replace Ann S. Bishop, the current executive director, as a “step in succession planning,” said ERS spokeswoman Mary Jane Wardlow, in an e-mail.

Ms. Bishop announced her intention to retire to the board “some time ago,” Ms. Wardlow said, but the date of her departure has not been set.

Mr. Wilson’s arrival date has not been set yet either, although the plan is that Mr. Wilson will join ERS soon in order to work side by side with Ms. Bishop during the forthcoming Texas legislative session, which begins in January, Ms. Wardlow said.

Mr. Wilson now is associate vice chancellor for governmental relations for the Texas Tech University System, Lubbock.

The Texas Employees Retirement System manages $26 billion in assets.