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Dallas Police & Fire Pension Fund Bill Faces First Vote

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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - A bill to save the troubled Dallas Police & Fire Pension Fund may pass its first hurdle Monday, and it all comes down to money. First responders feel like they are being cheated out of their retirement, but the mayor thinks that taxpayers should not have to carry the financial burden.

With the city unable to reach a deal, State Rep. Dan Flynn stepped in to help. He is the chair of the House Pension Committee, which is meeting at 2:00 p.m. on Monday. His bill is the one up for discussion. More than 30 police leaders from Dallas sent a letter urging lawmakers to pass the bill.

According to the letter, there are 130 fewer police officers now as compared to last year. Officials are worried that crime could spike if experienced police officers leave Dallas for other cities as a result of these pension problems. "This is not a bailout plan of the pension," Flynn said. "It's doing what's right to ensure a public safety presence on the street."

Mayor Mike Rawlings, however, thinks that the plan is bad for the bottom line of Dallas citizens. He spoke out against Flynn's bill last week, explaining that it would add a $1 billion cost to residents. "Instead of fixing the pension," Rawlings said, "it will unduly restrain the city and truly escalate this crisis in a way that will harm our taxpayers."

If the bill is approved by the committee, it would then move to the full House for a vote. State lawmakers have warned that, if the bill does not pass by the end of May, the fund will be one step closer to running dry.

"Under this bill, taxpayers are made to hurt the most," Rawlings added, "far more than the taxpayers deserve."

Flynn has stated, "Anyone opposed to this bill is standing against the Dallas Police & Fire families, public safety and the city's responsibility to take care of them."

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