Houston Pension Problems

Mayor Parker is asking to cut $14 million from the city’s annual firefighter pension contributions when the next fiscal year begins July 1, 2011.  She also plans to ask the same from the police pension as well.  The firefighter pension is already funded at 93%, so Mayor Parker says this will not impact the pension.
It is true that reducing the annual pay by $14 million this year won’t impact the pension this year, it will down the line.  If we keep this up, eventually the 93% funding the pension has will decline.  The city will have to pay at some point, so Mayor Parker is basically asking future Houstonians to worry about it later.
With a $130 million budget gap, $14 million will really help.  If this is a one time cut, we might be ok, but this will not be a one time event.  Mayor Parker is committing political suicide by even asking to make this cut, so I have no doubt that she feels confident that this is the only way to balance the budget; however, we have to find permanent cuts, or this one time pension cut will turn into a yearly event.


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