Fix for Troubled Dallas Police and Fire Pension System Passes Senate

AUSTIN — The Texas Senate unanimously passed a bill Tuesday that seeks to fix the broken Dallas Police and Fire Pension System. The bill barely made it out of committee last week but was saved by last-minute negotiations between the city, police and fire associations and pension officials. "This is not just a Dallas issue. This is about the future of our entire state," said Sen. Don Huffines, R-Dallas, who helped negotiate the Senate's version of the bill. "The men and women of Dallas police and fire deserve this bill."The Dallas pension fix, originally House Bill 3158 from Rep. Dan Flynn, R-Van, was sponsored by Sen. Royce West, D-Dallas, in the Senate. The Senate's version seeks to make the pension system solvent in the next 46 years; the House's version would have done it in 40.Without the bill, the fund would go broke in the next 10 years. "It’s no easy feat to strike a balance like this. Of course there’s going to be a lot of complaints," Huffines said. "Nobody, including me, got everything they wanted, although that’s the hallmark of a good negotiation."The city, the pension board and police and fire associations have been at odds since the fund's crisis two years ago. Police and firefighters have had to agree to cut back their benefits, while the city will use taxpayer dollars to make annual contributions to the fund to keep it afloat.   Continue reading...

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