Lawmakers are talking seriously about a 21.5 percent pay raise for state district judges. That raise would also mean a 21.5 percent bump in the pensions of lawmakers. It's a vote that opens politicians to criticism for fluffing their own financial pillows while leaving other budget items without enough money.Full Story
The Employees Retirement System (ERS) oversees the retirement benefits for state employees. The agency, which was created in 1947, also manages a group benefits program, a retirement program and a savings program.
According to the agency's Web site, "the Executive Director is responsible for overseeing the overall operations of the agency, including legal, investment and legislative matters. Additionally, the ...
Texas' public pension systems — including the one state lawmakers pay into — have an airtight exemption from the landmark 1973 sunshine law that was designed to let taxpayers known how public money is being spent. But some lawmakers want to change that.
Will the Planned Parenthood brouhaha affect elections? Should state officeholders be able to collect retirement while they're still on the job? And should Texas lawmakers have term limits?Full Story
Texas has scored a 68 out of 100, placing 27th in a national state integrity study. The state got high marks for auditing and for monitoring pension funds, but not as high for accountability of the governor and legislators.Full Story
Aaronson on Rick Perry's Texas Enterprise Fund, Aguliar on the DOJ's Joe Arpaio problem, Galbraith on the uncertainty about Texas' electric grid, Grissom and Schwartz of The New York Times on the latest in the Michael Morton case, Hamilton on the first leg of Perry's Iowa bus tour, Murphy and McLain unveil our new campaign finance database, Ramsey et al. go live with the first round of our 2012 election brackets, Root on a GOP rival's queries about Perry's pension play, M. Smith contrasts the various school finance lawsuits and Tan, Dehn and Murphy on a shortage of mental health professionals: The best of our best content from December 19-23, 2011.Full Story
Gov. Rick Perry has sparked a wave of criticism, and some unanswered questions, after filing paperwork this week revealing that he is collecting both a salary and a pension from the state of Texas. Critics say there are rules designed to prevent such arrangements. Perry and his aides say its perfectly legal.Full Story
Frustrated state employees continue to search for help — and answers — after the comptroller's office accidentally left sensitive personal data on an open server for anyone to see.Full Story
As they talk of cutting pension contributions and raising premiums for state employee health care and mandating layoffs and furloughs at state agencies, what are lawmakers doing to their own compensation and benefits?Full Story
Gov. Scott Walker should come to Texas, where much of what he’s seeking already exists. The right to bargain collectively isn’t allowed among state employees, and no public employee in Texas may legally go on strike.Full Story
As Texas lawmakers look to slash billions in state spending, pension plans have become fair game. Mose Buchele of KUT News reports on a legislative proposal to decrease state contributions to two retirement plans that collectively serve hundreds of thousands of Texans.Full Story
Federal health care reform’s biggest benefit for young adults — a mandate that insurance providers cover dependents until they reach age 26 — won’t apply to thousands of 25-year-old Texans for one simple reason: Their parents work for the state. The federal rule, which went into effect in late September, required all insurance providers to extend their cap to 26 at the start of their next “plan year.” For many private providers, that began Jan. 1. But the Texas Employees Retirement System plan year doesn't begin until next September, meaning 5,500 25-year-olds will miss out.Full Story
The insurance plan for state employees will have a $140.4 million shortfall next year — and that's the least of its problems. The projected shortfall for the two years after that is $880 million, and it will take another $476 million to replenish the legally required contingency fund. The Employee Retirement System and state leaders are surprisingly mellow about the red ink, saying growth in the cost of health benefits has actually stabilized at around 9 percent. But steady and large increases in costs threaten to erode the program, leaving policymakers to consider cuts in benefits, to negotiate lower prices or to find vast amounts of new money.Full Story
A federal conviction for lying on her taxes may send embattled Dallas Democratic Rep. Terri Hodge to prison. But it won’t stop her from drawing a state pension.Full Story
Few members of the State Board of Education have finance expertise. Should we be concerned that they manage the investments of the $23 billion Permanent School Fund?Full Story
Though Texas employees are increasingly retiring just to get rehired — a clever way to bring in a salary AND a pension at once — USA Today reports that many states are curbing the practice.Full Story
Ramsey and others on Bill White and the changing state of the race for governor; Thevenot's two-parter on what Dallas churches are doing to combat social ills and racial division; Ramshaw on the use of force by school district police departments (and why parents don't know about it); Grissom's two-parter, abetted by Stiles, on unregulated payday lenders; Aguilar on Mexican immigrants who play against type; and Rapoport on those missing extra checks for retired public employees. The best of the best from November 21 to 25, 2009.Full Story
Sorry, retired teachers and other public employees: You'll have to do without that extra $500 you were expecting. And you shouldn't count on any additional benefits next year — not if the state pension fund continues to be, in the words on one state senator, "actuarially unsound."Full Story
No snowbirds here. A growing number of state employees are retiring and coming straight back to work, padding — and in some cases nearly doubling — their state salaries with pension pay-outs.Full Story