Texas Bill Seeks to Boost Employee, Employer Pension Contributions

Texas

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.

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