Dallas has been a success story as of late. It has the fastest growing economy of the country's 13 largest cities, development has been on an immense rise, and multinational companies are relocating their headquarters to the area to cash in on Texas's low taxes.
So it was ironic last month when Mayor Michael S. Rawlings, a former executive of Pizza Hut, testified to a state oversight board that the city's pension fund for its police officers and firefighters is near collapse and is seeking an immense bailout.
The Dallas Police and Fire Pension System has asked the city for a one-time infusion of $1.1 billion, an amount roughly equal to Dallas's entire general fund budget but not even close to what the pension fund needs to be fully funded. Nothing would be left for fighting endemic poverty south of the Trinity River, for public libraries, or for giving current police officers and firefighters a raise.
Over six recent weeks, panicked Dallas retirees have pulled $220 million out of the fund. What set off the run was a recommendation in July that the retirees no longer be allowed to take out big blocks of money. Even before that, though, there were reports that the fund’s investments — some placed in highly risky and speculative ventures — were worth less than previously stated.