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Elections

Houston voters overwhelmingly approve issuing $1 billion pension obligation bond

Houston voters on Tuesday approved a referendum to issue $1 billion in pension obligation bonds to help reduce the city's $8.2 billion in unfunded pension liabilities.

The bond issuance, which was part of a pension reform package signed by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott in May, was approved by 77% of voters, according to voting results on the Harris County clerk's website. It was the only piece of the May pension reform package that went to a referendum.

Proceeds from the bond issuance are expected to be infused into two of the city's three pension funds — the $3.9 billion Houston Police Officers' Pension System and the $2.3 billion Houston Municipal Employees Pension System.

The package's other reforms included benefit reductions for participants in the police officers' fund, municipal employees' fund and $4.1 billion Houston Firefighters' Relief and Retirement Fund; changes to the funds' amortization periods and assumed rates of return; and a requirement that Houston make the full annual required contributions to the three funds.