Public pension reform should be a high-priority for the next legislature, for both the sake of retirees and taxpayers.

Alarming new data shows that Texas’ public retirement systems are not faring well. The Pension Review Board (PRB) is out with a new report, Actuarial Valuations Report for November 2016, pegging public pension debt at more than $63.2 billion, a jump of $3 billion from earlier this year. The report also notes that the average funded ratio for all plans is below the oft-cited 80 percent threshold and the number of plans with infinite amortization periods has risen to 6.

The PRB’s actuarial update, again, reminds us that Texas governments are making promises that officials can’t possibly keep, at least not without much higher taxes, fewer services, benefit reductions, or some combination of the three. Real retirement reforms are needed now more than ever to make sure that Texans can both afford and rely on their public pension systems