Abbott calls for transparent, accountable pension funds

Chris Rizo Sep. 24, 2008, 10:44am

Greg Abbott (R)

AUSTIN, Texas (Legal Newsline)--Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott on Wednesday issued a statement reiterating his call for accountable, transparent taxpayer-funded pension plans.

The Texas attorney general, who does not have oversight of securities, also announced a new site on his Web site that is designed to help taxpayers and public employees better understand government pension plans.

Abbott's moves come as federal lawmakers and the Bush administration grapple with how best to infuse stability back into the U.S. financial markets after the collapse of the credit market.

Officials in Washington are currently working on a $700 billion bailout plan for such financial giants as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and American International Group, an insurance conglomerate.

Abbott noted that more than 80 taxpayer-funded pensions have unfunded liabilities that exceed $20 billion, citing data from the Texas Pension Review Board, which is charged with overseeing the state's pensions.

"Improperly managed public pensions pose a financial threat to public employees and the taxpayers alike," Abbott said in a statement. "With our nation's financial markets in turmoil, now is the time to ensure taxpayer-funded pensions are transparent and accountable."

Speaking to attendees at the Texas Pension Review Board Conference annual meeting last year, Abbott outlined how he felt public pension fund management could be improved.

He called for transparency, sound governance, realistic actuarial assumptions and a system free of conflicts of interest.

"Governments must meet their funding obligations, managers must wisely manage pension funds, and pensions must give taxpayers access to adequate information about their financial health," Abbott said Wednesday.

From Legal Newsline: Reach reporter Chris Rizo at

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