Last week, I published an opinion piece in the Austin American-Statesman titled: James Quintero: Texas’ $61 billion pension problem. As it turns out, that $61 billion figure is already out-of-date.
Texas’ public pension problems no longer total $61 billion, but have instead grown to more than $63 billion according to new figures from the Pension Review Board. That’s a big jump in a short period of time that continues a trend of fast-growing pension debt. Since February 2016, unfunded liabilities for Texas’ state and local retirement systems has grown by $3 billion.
Source: Texas Pension Review Board
Of course, news of worsening pension problems comes as fiscal crises are already enveloping Austin, Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio, raising an important question: How will the Texas Legislature get these systems back on track? Restore local control? Transition to new employees to a defined contribution-style system? Or something else?
Only time will tell, but decisive action and leadership are sorely needed.