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Texas House OKs Houston pensions fix _ but makes big changes

May 8, 2017

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — The Texas House has approved a bill potentially cutting billions in future costs from Houston’s cash-strapped police and firefighter pension plans — but only after adding a contentious change that may ultimately kill the proposal.

Plagued by investments that didn’t meet high return expectations, Houston is facing about $8.1 billion in unfunded pension liabilities.

Approved Monday 112-28, the bill decreases plan benefits and lowers future investment yield targets. But the House also allowed fire fighter groups more time to calculate their pension costs.

Dozens of fire fighters watching from the gallery cheered, but that’s different from a proposal that already cleared the Senate and now must be reconciled before the legislative session ends May 29.

The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Dan Flynn, said the move “could very well derail the bill.”

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