DEFINED BENEFIT

Texas House unanimously passes pension reform for Dallas Police & Fire

Dallas Fire Truck

The Texas House unanimously passed a pension reform bill for the $2.1 billion Dallas Police & Fire Pension System.

The measure passed the House by a 141-0 vote May 4.

Among the bill's provisions are an increase in the retirement age to 58 from 55 (or 50 for those hired before March 1, 2011), a reduction in DROP benefits and the elimination of cost-of-living adjustments unless certain financial benchmarks are reached.

The bill also raises employees' payroll contributions to 13.5% from 8.5% (or 4% for active workers eligible for retirement and enrolled in the deferred retirement option plan) and raises the city's contribution to 34.5% of payroll annually plus $11 million per year.

Additionally, the number of pension fund board trustees would be reduced to 11 from 12, and would include five trustees appointed by the mayor.

The pension fund board could also decide under the bill to take back the interest earned by DROP participants.

“We're grateful to Texas House members for their unanimous vote to save the Dallas Police & Fire Pension fund for our active and retired first responders. The bill strengthens public safety while fulfilling the commitment to Dallas police and firefighters,” said Sam Friar, chairman of the pension fund board, in a statement May 4.

The pension fund was roughly 36% funded at the end of 2016.