March 10, 2023 -- Today, the Texas Supreme Court denied a petition for review by the Houston Firefighters’ Relief and Retirement Fund (HFRRF) in its second lawsuit challenging the historic pension reform championed by Mayor Sylvester Turner.
In 2017, the Texas Legislature approved sweeping statutory reforms to the City’s pension systems designed to save the City from fiscal crisis due to crushing pension obligations. The enacted statute ensures that the actuarial assumptions for determining the City’s contribution rates are based on sound actuarial principles and establishes a process for setting the contribution rate when the City’s and HFRRF’s proposed contribution rates differ by more than two percentage points.
HFRRF twice challenged the statute’s constitutionality in Texas state courts, first by arguing that it was facially unconstitutional and, when that failed, by arguing that it was unconstitutional as applied. Twice now, the Texas Supreme Court has rejected HFRRF’s arguments, making the pension system more secure for Houston’s firefighters now and in the future.
“Following the Texas Supreme Court’s latest decision, the City of Houston will continue to operate in a fiscally responsible and transparent way to protect all employee pensions. When I became mayor, the estimated unfunded pension liability reached as high as $8.2 billion before the 2017 reforms. Today, the unfunded liability of the City’s three pension plans is less than $2.2 billion. We cannot afford any setbacks. I am grateful for the court’s decision."