State lawmaker unhappy with ex-Dallas mayors in pension crisis

A state lawmaker is calling out three former Dallas mayors for getting in the middle of the Dallas police-fire pension crisis.

The mayors want the legislature to give the city more control over the fund. But one key state lawmaker says what they're doing is now is hurting, not helping.

Ron Kirk, Laura Miller and Tom Leppert propose a small increase of property taxes in Dallas, cuts in benefits to retirees and even the ability to take back money from retirees who got their money out of the fund.

The mayors said taxpayers need to speak up to avoid a massive potential tax increase on residents if a competing plan became reality.

"That's why you're going to find a group as diverse as me, Laura Miller, and Tom Leppert supporting Mayor Rawlings."

But State Representative Dan Flynn, the lawmaker in charge of the state's pension committee, says it's a little late.

“Incredibly disappointed. This is a group of people apparently decided they want to get involved,” Flynn said. “I don't know if it is for political reasons or personal enrichment, but not one of them has been to my office, or talked to my staff or I.”

Flynn says the former mayors should have been working decades ago on a problem they knew existed then.

"In 1997 the bill analysis said, this was an unsustainable plan.  That's when they should have been working on it,” Flynn said.

Ron Kirk was mayor in 1997. He along with Miller and Leppert just formed the group "Taxpayers For A Fair Pension". They mailed out flyers to Dallas taxpayers that urge them to add their names to a "concerned taxpayers list".

Kirk says the real people at fault for the mess are Texas lawmakers.

"The legislature created this mess, they allowed the police and fire union leadership to talk them into letting them pull out of the City of Dallas Public employee pension fund,” Kirk said.

Flynn says the pension fund and the city were on the verge of finally coming to an agreement when the flyers went out.

"And this is going to complicate thing for us, and it is really irritating,” Flynn said.

Kirk said he wanted to help Mayor Rawlings.

"When he says he needs my help, I'm ready to stand there shoulder to shoulder with him,” Kirk said.

Former Mayor Laura Miller told FOX4 when she was mayor they had a shortfall with the civilian pension, but the city had control and they fixed the problem.

Miller says the state needs to give back control of the police and fire pension fund - to the city - so that they can solve that problem too.

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