Texas Bills Aim to Shift Control of Pension Funds From State to Cities

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Two Texas lawmakers have filed bills that would shift control of municipal pension funds away from the state and give it to cities.

Some business leaders have been pushing for the change in recent years, arguing that cities’ economic development is slowed by an inability to make pension changes at the local level.

One bill is in the House, and its mirror is in the Senate.

More from the Austin Business Journal:

Rep. Jim Murphy, R-Houston, has filed a bill to shift the control of municipal pension funds away from the state and to local cities in House Bill 2608. Sen. Paul Bettencourt, R-Houston, who replaced Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick in the Senate, is carrying the companion bill in the Senate.

Control of public pensions traditionally belonged to the state, set by Texas law. Murphy and his conservative supporters want that control shifted to the local pension board, with pension terms defined by municipal ordinance.

[…]

In a recent column published in Houston Business Journal, a real estate developer and former city director said such reforms are long overdue.

“Looking at the boomtown that Houston is and the success that we’ve had with job growth 100,000 new jobs in the last couple of years, it’s a sad situation to see our problems on the pension side,” Bettencourt said. “It’s holding us down. We need a solution to the pension problem, and I look forward to a great debate.”

Bill Hammond of the Texas Association of Business, who spoke in support of local control, noted that Houston is not alone in its problems. San Antonio, Fort Worth and Galveston all have faced pension problems, Hammond said.

The bill – officially titled House Bill 2608 – can be read here.

 

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