Rice expert available to discuss Houston’s proposed plan to address pension issues

Rice University
Office of Public Affairs / News & Media Relations

Amy McCaig

Rice expert available to discuss Houston’s proposed plan to address pension issues

HOUSTON – (Sept. 14, 2016) – Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner today announced a plan to address the city’s pension issues. Bill Fulton, director of Rice University’s Kinder Institute for Urban Research, is available to discuss the mayor’s plan and the Kinder Institute’s recent report highlighting the financial state of Houston’s pensions. A full copy of the Kinder Institute report is available online at www.houstonpensions.com.

0302_KINDER-bFulton said that while the plan does not include all of the options for reform that the Kinder Institute identified in their recent report, it does appear to reflect shared sacrifice on the part of all parties.

“Both the employees and the mayor are giving up things they’d rather not give up,” he said.

Although different versions of the “thermostat/corridor” idea (the mayor’s proposed method of ensuring a consistent level of pension funding by the city) have been used elsewhere, Fulton said that he has not seen it used in this way before.

“If it is executed properly — and consistently over time — it could provide a way for both sides to share in the upside and sacrifice when times are tough,” he said.

“We look forward to receiving the full details of this plan from Mayor Turner so that we can independently analyze the claims that this will solve the problem — just as we did in our analysis of his action on potholes,” Fulton said. “We are happy to continue to play an independent role in providing the public with straight-up information on this and other issues of pressing importance to Houstonians.”

The Kinder Institute’s report, released Aug. 9, was created to provide the public and policymakers with an overview of the current financial state of Houston’s pensions, an explanation of why the city’s unfunded liabilities are growing and insights on possibilities for reform. The report also puts Houston’s pension situation in a national context. While the report outlines potential reform options for the city, it does not make official recommendations.

The Kinder Institute will host “Houston’s Pension Future,” a public discussion of the causes of Houston’s unfunded pension liability and the options for reform, at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 20 at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston’s Brown Auditorium. To RSVP, visit http://bit.ly/2cbchRh.


Members of the news media interested in speaking with Fulton should contact Amy McCaig, senior media relations specialist at Rice, at 713-348-6777 or amym@rice.edu.


This news release can be found online at http://news.rice.edu/.

Follow Rice News and Media Relations via Twitter @RiceUNews.

Related Materials:

Kinder Institute website: http://kinder.rice.edu/

Kinder Institute pension report: http://kinder.rice.edu/HoustonPension/

Photo link: http://news.rice.edu/files/2012/03/0302_KINDER-b.jpg

Photo credit: Rice University

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About Amy McCaig

Amy is a senior media relations specialist in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.