This in from Bill King about my state rep, Dennis Paul:
I wanted to let everyone know that notwithstanding a letter signed by over 80% of the precinct chairs in House District 129, Rep. Paul yesterday voted in the Pension Committee in favor of Sylvester Turner’s pension bill that does not have any transition to defined contribution plans and does not give Houstonians the right to vote on the $1 billion of pension bonds Turner plans to issue. In addition, the so-called “corridor” which supposedly limits the amount that the City will contribute to the plans is riddled with loopholes that you could drive a Mack truck through.
This bill passing out of the Pension Committee moves it one step closer to final passage. We have some reason to hope that a better bill will be coming out of the Senate. So far, at least, the Senate has stood firm on the requirement that pension bonds be approved by voters.
I hope that you will continue to share your views on this critical issue with all of our legislators.
I tried to reach Dennis to find out why he voted for this very flawed plan but I guess he’s busy. I rarely disagree with Dennis but this is a bad vote on a bad solution to the City of Houston’s pension problems. If conservatives like Dennis allow liberals like Mayor Sylvester Turner to push bad legislation through the House, there isn’t much hope for the everyday common folk.
I did get an opportunity to speak with Dennis after posting this. He urged me to keep the faith and made a very good case for what he was doing and why. In fact, he was able to use plainspeak so that even an old timer from Pasadena like me could understand the whys and wherefores of what the committee is trying to do with this bill. I still have some doubts about it and he also does. But he is working to try and put a few amendments on it that he thinks will make it more palatable to conservatives and a stronger bill for the city. I get the feeling that the biggest concern for all involved is that they do not want the city to file for bankruptcy because if that happens, everyone loses.
I hope that he puts out one of his legislative updates with the arguments he used in our conversation. Sausage making isn’t easy, it takes a lot of ingredients and if you put the wrong ones in, it doesn’t taste so good.
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