AUSTIN – Texas’s state and local retirement systems are in danger of fiscal disaster. The latest data shows Texas has in excess of $57 billion in unfunded pension liabilities. To discuss how to fix public pensions, the Texas Public Policy Foundation will host the panel “The Untouchables: A Look at Local Retirement Systems Protected by Sate Law” at the 14th Annual Policy Orientation for the Texas Legislature on Friday, January 8, 2016 at 9:30 am CST at the Hilton Austin Hotel in Salon K.

“Texas’ public pension programs are making promises that can’t be kept without huge tax increases, benefit reductions, or some combination of both. With almost $57 billion in unfunded liabilities, these systems are putting both taxpayers and retirees at risk,” said James Quintero, director of the Texas Public Policy Foundation’s Center for Local Governance. “Part of the difficulty is that many of these systems have intentionally put the state legislature between themselves and the local taxpayer. Over the years, thirteen big city pension plans have successfully lobbied the legislature to codify some or all of their plans in state law. So even though community stakeholders may want to make good government changes, they find they have to go to the legislature to do so.”
Panelists include:

  • Representative Roberto AlonzoTexas House of Representatives
  • Representative Jim MurphyTexas House of Representatives
  • Max Patterson, Executive DirectorTexas Association of Public Employees Retirement Systems
  • Bob WilliamsPresident, State Budget Solutions
  • James QuinteroDirector, Center for Local Governance, Texas Public Policy Foundation (Moderator) 

For over thirteen years, the Texas Public Policy Foundation’s Policy Orientation has been one of the nation’s top policy conferences, selling out each year while bringing together lawmakers, policy experts, and engaged citizens from across the political spectrum to discuss critical issues facing the Lone Star State and America. This year’s program includes more than 35 panel discussions and debates on the major issues affecting Texas’ future. 
Members of the public and media who wish to attend may register and view the agenda at:

James Quintero is director of the Center for Local Governance at the Texas Public Policy Foundation. 

The Texas Public Policy Foundation is a non-profit, free-market research institute based in Austin, Texas.

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