A Closer Look: Pensions Committee Interim Charges

November 6, 2015

TPEA’s overview of state employee and retires issues up for interim study skims some of the most relevant charges from the Speaker of the House to the various House committees that oversee issues of interest to state employees. The charges to the House Committee on Pensions deserve special attention due to the number and scope of issues this committee will study. Below is the full list of interim charges to this committee that concern your pension and oversight of the Employees Retirement System.

As always, TPEA will closely follow and participate in the interim committee process and will update our membership with the latest developments.

  1. Study the impact that fluctuations in global financial markets have had on public pension funds. Analyze assumed rates of return on investments, structures among asset classes, long-term and shorter-term investment goals, and make appropriate recommendations to ensure the investment structure of public pension funds are meeting fiduciary responsibilities.
  2. Examine Texas pension funds’ compliance with Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) Financial Reporting Statements 67 and 68, and identify the effect the reporting requirements are having on the state’s pension systems.
  3. Examine the immediate and long-term fiscal impact to the state of the unfunded liabilities for the Law Enforcement and Custodial Officer Supplemental Retirement Fund (LECOS) as part of the Employees Retirement System of Texas (ERS). Make appropriate legislative recommendations.
  4. Examine the fiscal and policy impacts of structural reforms that would increase state public pension plans’ ability to achieve and maintain actuarial soundness. Evaluate the feasibility, costs, and benefits of utilizing one-time funding increases to reduce or eliminate unfunded liabilities.
  5. Evaluate the investment performance benchmarks utilized by the state’s pension funds and the impact portfolio diversification and short- and long-term market assumptions have had on achieving expected investment returns. Analyze the fee structure and investment strategy for various investment classes to ensure the costs are reasonable and competitive versus other large public and private pension trust funds.
  6. Conduct legislative oversight and monitoring of the agencies and programs under the committee’s jurisdiction and the implementing of relevant legislation passed by the 84th Legislature. In conducting this oversight, the committee should:
    a) consider any reforms to state agencies to make them more responsive to Texas taxpayers and citizens;
    b) identify issues regarding the agency or its governance that may be appropriate to investigate, improve, remedy, or eliminate;
    c) determine whether an agency is operating in a transparent and efficient manner; and
    d) identify opportunities to streamline programs and services while maintaining the mission of the agency and its programs.
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