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Texas Governor signs Dallas, Houston pension bills

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Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed into law on Wednesday a bill aimed at addressing public pension problems in the state’s two biggest cities, Dallas and Houston.

The new law will increase retirement ages, hike worker and city contributions, limit cost-of-living (COLA) increases for retirees, and restructure governance.

In a tweet on Wednesday, Abbott wrote that he was “proud of the Texas legislature leading on pension reform that ensures fiscal soundness.”

The Dallas police and fire pension system was projected to become insolvent within 10 years if the city or the state did not act.

The new law cuts the Dallas system’s nearly $3.7 billion unfunded liability to $2.18 billion and boosts the funded ratio to nearly 50 percent from the current 36.8 percent, according to a bill analysis.

The Houston bill would help reduce the $8.1 billion unfunded liability in the city’s municipal, police, and firefighter funds by reducing benefits. The law also lowers the fund’s assumed rate of investment return from as high as 8.5 percent, one of the most ambitious rates in the country, to 7.25 percent, closer to nation’s average.

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The city of Houston estimated that without any type of reform, the city would contribute $3.7 billion to the pension systems over five years. With reforms, the city will contribute $2.0 billion. The city estimates a savings of $1.4 billion, and an estimated debt service cost of $0.2 billion.

(Reporting by Robin Respaut in San Francisco; additional reporting by Karen Pierog in Chicago)

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Progressive reformer claims victory in fiercely-contested Queens DA race

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Progressive reformer Tiffany Cabán has declared victory in her campaign versus Melinda Katz in the Queens District Attorney race.

With 99% of precincts reporting, Cabán held a lead of 1,090 votes, The New York Times reports.

Cabán was backed by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT).

Katz was backed by Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY), who chairs the Queens Democratic Party, and Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY)

https://twitter.com/CabanForQueens/status/1143721257353076737

https://twitter.com/CabanForQueens/status/1143721448168710151

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2020 Election

New 2020 poll shows Trump trailing all Democrats — some by double-digits

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President Donald Trump trails all of his Democratic rivals in hypothetical matchups of the 2020 presidential race, according to the result of a new poll released Tuesday.

This article originally appeared on Salon.

The survey, conducted by Emerson Polling, found that the president lags behind former vice president Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., by 10 points nationally — 45 percent to 55 percent. He also trails Sen. Elizabeth Warren by six points — 47 percent to 53 percent —and Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., and South Bend, Ind. Mayor Pete Buttigieg by four points — 48 percent to 52 percent.

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Beto O’Rourke’s ‘war tax’ policy proposal is straight out of ‘Starship Troopers’

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Amid an overcrowded Democratic presidential candidate field, it's hard to distinguish yourself from the pack if you don't slot easily into the scale that runs from "pro-corporate centrist" to "left-populist." If you're former Texas congressman Beto O'Rourke —  who falls somewhere in the middle, politically, and somewhere towards the top, looks-wise — you pull a militaristic policy proposal out of your hat that recalls some of the most campy pseudo-fascist sci-fi ever written.

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Trump endorses killing journalists, like Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi. Online ad networks are now targeting sites that cover acts of violence against dissidents, LGBTQ people and people of color.

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