For decades, state and local politicians across the nation have overpromised on and underfunded government-run retirement plans, resulting in the accumulation of trillions of dollars in un-funded liabilities. Unfunded liabilities are the difference between promised benefits to future retirees and money available to fund those benefits. In fact, one study pegged total unfunded state andlocal pension liabilities nationwide at more than $6 trillion—or $18,676 per American.

Texas is not immune. State and local governments employ 14%of workers. Most of these workers have a defined benefit pension plan that promises a regular payment to retirees regardless of contribution. Underperforming investments and generational accounting issues are exhausting these plans leaving them with mounting, unsustain- able liabilities.