"A Season of Change"
It has been well over a month since the new Pension Law for Houston Police
Officers (and surviving spouses) has taken effect. The actual effect to the
benefit structure has not yet surfaced to most members of HPOPS and to our
members. When negotiations began, between HPOPS and the City of Houston, last
year for the compromise, the general mood and feelings were that this would be a
"slam dunk" at the legislature. It was not anticipated that many obstacles
would arise and create problems leading to a finished piece of legislation.
There were some problems that we were able to overcome, such as a trustee
position on HPOPS Board who had been re-elected to an active position even
though he had entered Phase Down A class just prior to a delayed election
process. Other problems were not so easy to overcome, such as the mandate for
an election by the citizens of Houston on the sale of POB's (Pension Obligation
Bonds) which will allow the City of Houston the ability to pay the police
pension system the $750 million they short changed the system on their ARC
(Annual Required Contribution) for the preceding 12 or 14 years. No such law
actually existed prior to it's inclusion in the compromise bill, and the city
could have already sold the bonds prior to the effective date of the new law.
Now, having previously stated the fact that the city could have made moot
the point on bond sales prior to effective date of the law, we can only take a
wait and see position of the results of a November election on this issue and
other issues that may be included. If one can believe that one new position by
the mayor, according to the Houston Chronicle, he stated that he probably will
not include the proposition calling the removal of the property tax cap. This
may keep many opponents from coming to the polls and voting negatively on the
I hope that many of you have been keeping up with all HPOPS news concerning
changes to the pension law.
Their most recent was on their web site on Friday, May 27, 2017, titled
CHANGES UNDER THE LAW - QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS.
This was good information and hopefully answers most of your questions
regarding it's impact on your benefits. However, it does not answer the
question, should it arise, on a specific date that benefits will be returned to
prior benefit structure of the old plan if the city cannot pay it's obligated
debt to the system since there was written into the law a delayed extension for