AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Republican Comptroller Susan Combs said Tuesday "there are some warning signs in Texas" surrounding certain public-employee pension obligations but defended the stability of the state's largest retirement funds that total $139 billion and could face calls for reform next year.

Combs, the state's chief accountant, said the Employee Retirement System and Teacher Retirement System are in "pretty doggone good shape." Those programs cover more than 70 percent of public employees in Texas and paid out a combined $8.9 billion last year.

Both are defined benefit plans, meaning the employees under them are guaranteed a certain level of benefits upon retirement. Some conservative groups have called for changing the teacher's fund to a defined contributions plan, which operates more like a 401(k) and is more dependent on investment returns.

Combs didn't take a position on whether changes are needed. She said her office's report on public pensions released Tuesday — the last in a four-part series on public money in Texas — was instead driven by a need for greater transparency.

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