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TRS Board Meets and Approves Resolution to Implement Cost-of-Living Increase

TRTA Urges Discussion on TRS-Care

The Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS) Board of Trustees met in Austin for their regularly scheduled meeting on Friday, July 26. Numerous items relating to the TRS pension fund, its investment performance, TRS policies and more were discussed.

Perhaps the most significant action taken by the TRS Board was the approval of a resolution directing the TRS staff to implement the cost-of-living increase for qualifying retirees in accordance with the passage of SB 1458 this last legislative session. Retirees who retired as of August 31, 2004 or before will receive a 3% increase (not to exceed $100 per month by statute). The increase is projected to be effective for the September annuity payment (which is received in October).

The TRS Board also adopted a resolution that maintains the TRS-Care health insurance plan and its benefit structure for the coming fiscal year. In addition, the TRS Board is maintaining premiums for all TRS-Care participants. TRTA has worked hard to ensure that the TRS-Care program is an affordable, quality benefit for participants. We have worked with the TRS Board and the Legislature to maintain this plan and safeguard the premium structure. Today’s decision by the TRS Board marks 9 years that premiums have not increased. This would not have been possible without the hard work of our TRTA members!

It was also reported today that TRS-Care will have exhausted its reserve funding completely sometime in FY 2016. Projections are that the plan will experience a near $1 billion shortfall in FY 2017. Tim Lee, TRTA Executive Director, addressed the TRS Board on this matter. “We can all agree that we enjoyed a successful 83rd Legislative Session, but TRTA’s attention is turning to the TRS-Care program and what may come in the 84th Legislative Session,” Lee said. The TRS-Care program covers over 235,000 TRS retirees and dependents. “We must be proactive and begin discussing the various proposals to our TRS-Care funding issues. TRTA is ready to work on these issues now and to bring stakeholders together to address them in advance of the next legislative session,” he concluded.

Finally, the TRS Board recognized two trustees whose terms have now expired. Ms. Charlotte Clifton, who serves as one of the active member trustees, and Mr. Eric McDonald, who serves as a trustee with financial expertise, concluded their duties with TRS. Both trustees have served since 2008 and entered their service during some of the most difficult financial times in our nation’s history. They helped lead the system during those challenging times, and the fund has benefited tremendously from their leadership and steadfast commitment to all TRS members. TRTA greatly appreciates the work, dedication, and public service that Ms. Clifton and Mr. McDonald have given to TRS over the years.

TRTA will continue to monitor the implementation of the TRS cost-of-living adjustment and the issues surrounding our TRS-Care program. Thank you for your membership in the Texas Retired Teachers Association. We are making a strong case for protecting and improving the benefits for all TRS retirees. While we have accomplished much, there is still more we must do! Your dedication is the reason TRTA is successful.