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  • Texas Pension Group Compiles List of 'Hostile Threats' - Including Heritage

    A non-profit group that represents members of Texas’s public employee retirement system outlined a host of individuals and organizations that it considers “hostile threats” in a recent presentation.

    The presentation, which the Texas Association of Public Employee Retirement Systems (TEXPERS) posted online, goes on to describe methods of marginalizing those “threats” to defined benefit pension policies.

    “Many groups and individuals have put Defined Benefit plans for Texas public employees in their sights, erroneously claiming reform is needed and Defined Contribution plans are the only viable option,” the presentation, titled “The Hostile Threat: Opponents To Defined Benefit Plans and TEXPERS’ Response,” states.

    “Many [of these hostile threats] are true ideologues and only consistent presentation of facts can prevail to counter their misguided assertions,” the presentation adds. “TEXPERS has been monitoring these hostile threats to DB plans and engaging in various public forums as necessary to thwart their efforts.”

    Among the listed “hostile threats” is Heritage’s own Jason Richwine, who TEXPERS claims is “ideological and not practical, nor completely conversant with facts on the ground.” Richwine responded that TEXPERS is attempting to “disguise the real costs with faulty accounting and then attempting to marginalize critics who point out what they’re doing.”

    Read Richwine’s report on the real cost of defined benefit pensions.

    The presentation lists other prominent free market groups among its “hostile threats,” including the American Enterprise Institute, the American Legislative Exchange Council, the Texas Public Policy Foundation, FreedomWorks, the Cato Institute, and Americans for Prosperity.

    It also singles out a number of “hostile individuals,” including, perhaps unsurprisingly, libertarian philanthropists Charles and David Koch, Houston Financial Management Task Force chairman Michael Nichols, and former Kemah, TX, mayor Bill King. TEXPERS says it  has “worked to minimize King’s credibility.”

    The presentation ends with a brochure for the Texans for a Secure Retirement PAC. The organiation is backed by TEXPERS and the Texas branch of the AFL-CIO. State records for 2011 and 2012 show that TSR PAC has received $83,585 in contributions since last year (there is no record of contributions in years prior), but has not spent a penny on political activities.

    Here is the full TEXPERS presentation:

    Posted in Scribe [slideshow_deploy]

    3 Responses to Texas Pension Group Compiles List of 'Hostile Threats' - Including Heritage

    1. Tryon Lindabury says:

      I am a retired police officer from the City of Houston. I do not support TEXpers, but do believe that each pension system needs to be evaluated on an individual basis for example the City of Houston public employees system was and is obviously unsustainable. They did not pay into the system and the benefits are outrageous. However the Houston Police Departments retirement system required me to pay from 7.5 to over 9% of my pay into the system for the 30 years I was with the department. My pension after 30 years is 1/2 pay.
      I am not complaining about my pension, but wish to indicate that some plans though DB in nature were indeed funded properly and should not be lumped into one large lump.

    2. Tough Love says:

      The Jason Richwine paper (linked in this article) is right on the money. Too bad he didn't include some of the OTHER nonsense coming from those fighting pension reform….such as Police & Firefighters trying to justify their absurdly generous pensions by saying that they only live on average about 5 years after retiring…. refuted as incorrect and ridiculous by CalPERS actuary.

      Additionally, the modest "average" pensions that DB pension supporter like to quote are misleading for reasons beyond just the short career workers that Richwine mentioned. These "averages" also include (a) those who retired long ago at lower salaries (often before big, and sometimes retroactive benefit increases), (b) part-time workers, and (c) 50% survivorship share payouts to widows and widowers.

      Notwithstanding Constitutional issues, contract law and property right issues, it's WAY past time to ed the financial rape of Taxpayers by the collusion between the Public Sector Unions and our self-serving, vote-selling, contribution-soliciting elected officials.

      Employee contribution increases are NEVER even remotely sufficient to address this huge problem. The best (and justifiable) solution would be to end further DB Plan accruals for future service for CURRENT workers, or if that is not possible, to reduce the accrual rate by at least 50% … still leaving Public Sector workers with far greater pensions than their Private sector counterparts.

      If neither of these options are viable, then we must outsource 90+% of all public Sector workers as outsourcing ends the "employment relationship" and with it all future growth in pensions and benefits.

    3. DWatt says:

      To tough love…I agree with the posting prior to yours. Do not cast a net over all DB plans and say they are bad. It is not true and distorts the issue.

      I would suggest you also tone down the anti-public sector sentiment. Comments such as "Outsourcing 90+ of the public sector" is just absurd. Both sectors have a role to play and there needs to be balance. Also, private sector workers need a viable retirement vehicle (other than the current DC plan model) which was never intended to provide for an adequate retirement on its own.

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