By Sean Shelton and Paul Thompson
El Paso is struggling to attract and keep good police officers and firefighters on the job. Voting for Prop I would help keep those hard working frontline workers in El Paso.
Other big cities have faced major frontline worker shortages only to see crime explode and much-needed services suffer. Cities like San Antonio, with strong fire and police pension funds, can attract skilled, experienced uniformed employees from other places in Texas where they’ve become disgruntled or had benefit cuts.
Since Social Security is not available to first responders, our police and firefighters rely on the condition of their pension system for retirement, disability, and death benefits in these high-risk professions.
Prop I would also benefit the community without increasing your taxes. Prop I is tax-neutral. It does not contain any new tax costs or tax reductions. However, it has other benefits to the community that could result in savings.
Prop I will help the city’s bond ratings stay strong. Rating agencies now follow city pension funds closely to rate bonds. Prop I’s city cap removal for police and fire pension contributions will boost our bond ratings.
Why does that matter? Cities frequently issue millions in bonds to fund major infrastructure improvements. A strong bond rating lessens the interest rate borrowing costs, ultimately lessening the cost burdens on our residents.
Prop I will align El Paso with best practices stateside and nationwide for these types of pension plans. It will help maintain the pension’s health, build on the current investing success of the fund, and provide security to the frontline workers who provide safety, security, and care to those in our community. It is a win for everyone and may even help our police and fire departments successfully expand their understaffed forces.
Vote for Proposition I.
Sean Shelton is an officer in the El Paso Police Department and chairs the Board of Trustees of the El Paso Firemen and Policemen’s Pension Fund. Paul Thompson is a member of the El Paso Fire Department and serves as the pension fund’s vice chair.