TEXPERS Opinion-Editorials

TEXPERS Opinion-Editorials

Texas newspapers regularly publish the opinion-editorial pieces of Max Patterson, the executive director of TEXPERS and an expert on pension issues in the state.   

Patterson: Houston's pension plan funding holds up under scrutiny (Chron.com, 8/27/2013) 
TEXPERS Max Patterson responds to pension critic Bill King in the Houston Chronicle. The main point: Houston isn't Detroit. Columnist King's attacks on Houston's public employee pensions use the sleight-of-hand trick of comparing our great city to Detroit. The truth is that we've been hearing King's Chicken Little imitation for some time now, and readers need to apply their own critical thinking to many of the components he strings together. Let's take on a few.

Patterson: There’s plenty of pension fund transparency (Austin American Statesman, 12/12/2012) 
State Comptroller Susan Combs released a report last week urging greater transparency for state and local pensions, recommending that they "report on a public website such line items as their actual investment returns for the past 10 years and the plans’ assumed rates of return." As the representative of more than 80 local pensions around the state, our reaction was, "Fair enough; it’s hard to argue with transparency. We can do that." The trouble is that, the more we thought about it, all local pensions across the state already operate in the fashion Combs suggests. They are public entities, and they operate as such, with the information Combs requests being readily available. Let’s review the status quo.

Police, fire pensions: Sound and necessary

SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS - During this holiday season, we've been reminded of the dangers each professional man and woman of our Police and Fire departments face daily. We are reminded because we recently lost another fine, dedicated police officer to a senseless act. We shouldn't need reminders like this, but, unfortunately, we often forget the risks of death and injury to those who protect us. Firefighters and EMS personnel also perform their jobs under dangerous conditions, especially at this time of year, when cold temperatures, overloaded circuits and flammable materials are commonplace. The side effects of their profession, caused by the stress of repetitive responses to dangerous situations, have long-lasting consequences for their health and life expectancies.

Patterson: Those who retire well should keep others in mind (Houston Chronicle, 06/08/2012) 

TEXPERS executive director Max Patterson congratulates Laura and John Arnold for retiring in their 30s with billions of dollars, but he observes how their public policy foundation advocates for policies that would strip away the ability of public sector employees to retire with security.

Patterson: Give workers a shot at a livable retirement
 (Austin American Statesman, 02/19/2012) 
TEXPERS executive director Max Patterson says that analysts should strive to create public policies that strengthen all workers’ prospects for a secure retirement. It’s increasingly evident that 401(k)s, also known as defined contribution plans, aren’t creating that security for workers in the private sector.

Biggest Texas firms stick with defined-benefit plans (Houston Chronicle, 07/01/2011) 
TEXPERS executive director Max Patterson dispels the notion that all public sector companies are choosing to eliminate traditional defined-benefit plans. The fact is that 28 of 35 Fortune 500 companies in Houston and Dallas are choosing to keep theirs in place, according to research into their recent 10-K filings. In effect, 80 percent of Fortune 500 companies located in Texas' two biggest cities retain defined-benefit-style plans..

Texas Pension Funds in Good Shape (Houston Chronicle, 03/01/2010) 
The Texas Association of Public Employee Retirement Systems (TEXPERS) in the second week of August concluded its Annual Summer Educational Forum, titled "Understanding Volatility & Its Global Impact," while the Dow Jones Industrial Average tossed and turned from 600 point losses to 500 point gains after Standard & Poor’s downgraded U.S. government debt and rocked world financial markets.