Houston voters approve $1 billion refund to pension fund

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Wednesday, November 8, 2017
Houston voters overwhelming approve city bonds
Houston voters overwhelmingly backed several bond issues backed by Mayor Sylvester Turner.

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- The watch party at Irma's Southwest Grill shut down early after the numbers held all night for the city's propositions backed by Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner.

It was all smiles all night long as the numbers came in, with voters overwhelmingly backing the slate of initiatives known as "Lift Up Houston."

"Tonight is a victory for the city of Houston and a city that retains and continues to be a can-do city, that can do anything that it puts its mind to," Turner said in his victory speech.


Proposition A was the main focus on Turner's mind tonight as the polls closed.

That initiative refunds the city's pension funds that have been billions of dollars in the red for years.

With the voter's approval, a $1 billion bond will now start paying down that debt without raising taxes, Turner said.

"Last week and what the Astros did and the huge parade, this is a can-do city. We do pull together. And tonight signifies that," Turner said. "This wasn't a Republican vote or a Democratic vote. This was everyone coming together, pulling together in the best interest of our city. I am very, very pleased."

Turner said many other urban cities face similar pension challenges, but that "Houston is in that select category of coming up with a permanent fix for that pension problem."

The mayor said tonight consultants from other cities have been looking to Houston to see how they can also solve their pension issues.

If the proposition had not passed, Turner spoke about the need to cut at least 2,000 jobs as well as city services. That will not happen, now that voters have approved Proposition A.

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