Tag Archives: pension obligation bonds

Mayor Whitmire working with the firefighters

We’ll see what we get. In another step toward settling its years-long conflict with the city, the firefighters union met with Mayor John Whitmire’s administration [last] Friday morning to discuss the city’s first proposal for raises and back pay, with … Continue reading

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Pension reform had the desired effect

It’s a good thing Houston got this done when it did. We couldn’t get it done earlier, and I don’t think we could get it done now. Now, nearly six years after Mayor Sylvester Turner shepherded a package of reforms through the … Continue reading

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Appeals court affirms pension bond lawsuit

Hope this is now over. The Texas 1st Court of Appeals has struck down an appeal from a Houston businessman who contested the city’s 2017 pension bond referendum, appearing to end the legal challenge that began almost a year and … Continue reading

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Pension bond lawsuit dismissed

This hit my inbox late in the day on July 3. The City of Houston is pleased that a court challenge to the 2017 election on the City’s pension bonds has been decided in its favor. Today, State District Judge … Continue reading

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Council approves Mayor’s budget

The annual ritual is observed. Houston City Council adopted Mayor Sylvester Turner’s $4.9 billion budget by a vote of 13-4 Wednesday, ending three hours of otherwise amiable debate with an impassioned speech from Councilman Jack Christie that concluded with the … Continue reading

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Precinct analysis: Two facts about 2017 turnout

As always after an election, I received an early copy of the canvass report, which tells me how the vote went in each individual precinct. Unlike other years, I didn’t have a clear direction for what to do with it, … Continue reading

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Pension bond sales proceed

But it was close, which both boggles my mind and annoys the ever-loving crap out of me. The City of Houston can move forward with its plan to sell $1 billion in bonds on Friday as part of Mayor Sylvester … Continue reading

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Inevitable lawsuit over pension bond ballot language filed

Like night follows day, like flies garbage. Mayor Sylvester Turner misled voters into approving a $1 billion pension bond referendum last month, a new lawsuit alleges, claiming that city officials plan to use the bonds’ passage to sidestep a voter-approved … Continue reading

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My thoughts following the 2017 election

1. Turnout in Houston was considerably higher than anyone predicted. Adding in Fort Bend to Harris yields 101,178 voters. Harris County had 149,730. The Houston share of Harris County was 66.43%, which is lower than I expected as well. 2. … Continue reading

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2017 results: City bonds

Pension obligation bonds pass easily. Houston voters passed a $1 billion pension bond referendum by a wide margin late Tuesday, securing Mayor Sylvester Turner’s landmark reform package and, the mayor hopes, marking the beginning of the end of a 16-year … Continue reading

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Election Day 2017

It’s time to vote if you haven’t already. Not many people have, as we know. Harris County turnout is expected to remain feeble through Election Day, with no marquee race to draw voters to the polls and thousands still displaced … Continue reading

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2017 EV daily report: Day 8, and one more look at a way to guess turnout

Here are the numbers through Monday. Now that we are in the second week of early voting, when the hours each day are 7 to 7, these reports arrive in my inbox later in the evening. Here are the daily … Continue reading

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Early voting for November 2017 begins today

From the inbox: “The best option to vote in the upcoming Nov. 7 election is during the early voting period,” advised Harris County Clerk Stan Stanart. Early Voting for the November 7, 2017 General and Special Elections begins Monday, October … Continue reading

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Endorsement watch: Don’t forget the city bonds

The Chron circles back to where they started this endorsement season. The spotlight of public attention has focused on the billion dollar pension bond referendum, Proposition A, whose passage is absolutely critical to Houston’s financial future. But if you’re a … Continue reading

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Endorsement watch: The bonds

Endorsement season has officially begun. The key referendum, Proposition A, is a solution to Houston’s potentially disastrous pension problem. A complex deal ushered through the Texas Legislature by Mayor Sylvester Turner would reduce the $8.2 billion unfunded pension burden now … Continue reading

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Lift Up Houston

Hey, you know there are bonds on the ballot, right? And Mayor Turner would like you to vote for them. Mayor Sylvester Turner spent much of his first year and a half keeping the civic conversation focused on winning legislative … Continue reading

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No charter amendments on the fall ballot

Just bonds, school board and HCC races, and the mostly boring constitutional amendments. Oh, and Heights Alcohol 2.0, if you live there. Houston voters will face $1.5 billion in city bonds and nine community college or school board races this … Continue reading

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More on the firefighters’ pay parity proposal

Here’s that full Chron story I mentioned yesterday: Houston firefighters delivered over 32,000 signatures to City Hall on Monday in support of asking voters in November to mandate parity in pay between firefighter and police officer ranks, a maneuver that … Continue reading

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Mayor will take revenue cap referendum off the 2017 ballot

Not gonna lie, I’m disappointed by this. Mayor Sylvester Turner abruptly reversed course Wednesday on his plan to ask voters to repeal Houston’s revenue cap this fall, saying it now is “unlikely” he will ask for its removal. The politically … Continue reading

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Bonds on the ballot

Mayor Turner has one more item to deal with this November. Mayor Sylvester Turner is poised ask voters to approve bonds this fall to fund improvements to city parks, community centers, fire stations and health clinics, adding hundreds of millions … Continue reading

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Do we really have to have a pension bond vote?

So as we know, the Houston pension reform bill that passed contains a provision that requires a vote on the pension obligation bonds that Mayor Turner intends to float as a down payment. Pension obligation bonds have been floated in … Continue reading

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On to the revenue cap

With one major accomplishment (basically) finished, Mayor Turner moves on to the next major challenge facing him. “This is the most consequential campaign of the mayor’s career,” University of Houston political scientist Brandon Rottinghaus said. “These things are more complicated … Continue reading

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Houston pension reform bill passes

It’s done. The Texas House on Wednesday approved the controversial Senate version of a bill that aims to overhaul Houston’s failing pension funds — over the passionate objections of current and former firefighters. Senate Bill 2190, which passed in a … Continue reading

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Mayor Turner’s second budget

It’s about what you’d expect. With pension reform in sight, Mayor Sylvester Turner on Tuesday proposed a combination of departmental cuts, one-time fixes, deferred payments and a dip into city reserves to close next year’s $123 million budget gap. Turner … Continue reading

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Revenue cap will be on the November ballot

Here it comes, assuming the pension reform bill doesn’t get mugged in a dark alley. Mayor Sylvester Turner plans to ask voters to lift Houston’s cap on property tax collections in November, a move that could loosen one of the … Continue reading

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Senate passes pension reform bill

Progress. Houston’s pension reform package passed the Texas Senate by a 25-5 margin Monday, as a possible political blockade dissolved to provide the landmark proposal a speedy passage. Mayor Sylvester Turner’s reforms now await a hearing in the state House … Continue reading

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Pension reform bill passes House committee

Two for two. Houston’s pension reform bill will now move to the floor of each legislative chamber after a Texas House committee joined its Senate counterparts in passing the measure 6-1 Wednesday. With Rep. Roberto Alonzo, D-Dallas, opposed, the pensions … Continue reading

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Firefighters will oppose pension reform bill

So it goes. Hopes that Houston’s firefighter pension board might agree to a compromise set of benefit reforms and end their opposition to Mayor Sylvester Turner’s landmark reform package proved too optimistic, after the two sides passed a Thursday deadline … Continue reading

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Busy day in the Senate

They got stuff done, I’ll give them that. Whether it was stuff worth doing or not, I’ll leave to you. 1. Senate bill would let Houston voters weigh in on fix to pension crisis. The Senate on Wednesday voted 21-10 … Continue reading

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House hearing for pension bill

Another step in the process. Houston’s pension reform plan got its first hearing Monday in the state House, where rows and rows of current and retired firefighters appeared to voice opposition to the plan. Municipal and police leaders testified in … Continue reading

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Pension reform bill passes Senate committee

A major step forward. Houston’s pension reform plan cleared a state Senate committee in its initial hearing at the Capitol on Monday, despite the fact that all those who testified – including Mayor Sylvester Turner – opposed at least some … Continue reading

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No one ever said pension reform was going to be easy

The firefighters’ pension fund isn’t happy with the way things are going. The plan to reform the City of Houston’s pension system is running into opposition from the Houston Firefighters’ Relief and Retirement Fund (HFRRF). In a recent letter sent … Continue reading

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Some dude opposes pension reform

Presenting this in a slightly redacted form. [Some dude] has joined friend and ally Sen. Paul Bettencourt, R-Houston, in rallying opposition to [Mayor Sylvester] Turner’s [pension reform] proposal among conservatives. He has attended at least three dozen forums on the … Continue reading

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We may be voting on pension obligation bonds

Oh, boy. A state lawmaker carrying Houston’s pension reform bill says her version of the proposal will require a public referendum on a $1 billion cash infusion central to the negotiations, an idea Mayor Sylvester Turner called a “poison pill” … Continue reading

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