Lawmaker optimistic about Dallas pension fund crisis

The state legislature may toss a lifeline to the troubled Dallas Police and Fire Pension Fund to save it from going belly up. A key player in that is State Rep. Dan Flynn of Van. He joined Good Day FOX 4 Thursday morning live from Austin.

“It’s been a challenge for a number of years and I think that there’s plenty of blame to go around to everyone. And that’s what we’ve been trying to say. Let’s forget about pointing the finger and let’s correct the issue,” he said.

As it stands now, beneficiaries are going to see their benefits cut. The city and current employees are going to pay in more money to the retirement fund.

“It’s going to be shared sacrifice. There’s no question about that. And our goal is… we want to restore the actual soundness of the plan and we want to be sure that retirees have their money that is coming to them and the new hires need to know that they’ll have adequate retirement when they’re ready to retire,” Flynn said.

One of the terms that confusing many people in this crisis is “clawback.” Flynn said it means different things to people on different sides of the issue, but basically it’s a supplement.

“So many of the fireman and the police officers, they don’t pay into social security. This was an opportunity for them to be able to have a supplement for retirement,” he said.

The city of Dallas is also talking about taking some money from the Dallas Area Rapid Transit sales tax and putting it toward balancing the fund. It could mean $30 million per year in extra funding for pensions, but at the expense of pending light rail projects and bus service.

Flynn said the option still seems encouraging because it could eliminate the need for raising property taxes and no one really wants to see an increase in property taxes.

“It’s one of those issues where initially there was a lot of finger pointing and I think when everyone realized the seriousness of where we were everyone wanted to work together to be sure,” the state lawmaker said.

Flynn said he’s looking forward to having bill come out of the legislative council in the next few days.

Meanwhile, the company that advised the pensionf und on real estate investments has settled with the fund for $800,000. CDK Real Estate advisors denied they were involved in some of the worst investments that threatened to bankrupt the fund.

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