State senators grill TRS officials on lease plan

Senators Jane Nelson and John Whitmire in the Senate Finance Committee Hearing

The state Senate Finance Committee held a hearing Tuesday on the Teacher Retirement System of Texas. The hearing focused on lease plans that have been the topic of much discussion among TRS members upset at the high-costs proposed for new downtown Austin office space in a skyscraper called “The Indeed Tower.” Even though TRS officials had already reversed costs to a lower priced option last Friday, senators still grilled the agency in the hearing questioning the rationale behind the original plan.

Also at question are reports that TRS may have invested in, and thus possibly have some ownership of, the Indeed Tower. That prompted State Sen. John Whitmire of Houston to ask the attorney general if such investments are legal under the Texas Constitution. The senator also is requesting a review from the state auditor on all TRS real estate investments dealings.