Tomorrow, Tuesday, November 6, 2018 is General Election day! We know many members and friends of the Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA) early voted between October 22 and November 2. In fact, voter turnout in Texas has soared beyond the turnout for the most recent midterm election held in 2014!
Per the Texas Tribune, “preliminary data shows turnout over 12 days of early voting in those 30 counties (where 78 percent of registered voters live) . . . surpassed the entire turnout of the 2014 midterm election — more than early voting and election-day voting combined.” Read more about voter turnout by clicking here.
However, if you have not yet cast your vote, tomorrow is the day! Here are few helpful resources for you as you make your voting plans. Be sure to invite a friend, family member or colleague to come and vote too! Be prepared to wait in line, but sure to stay and cast that vote!
Where do I vote on Election Day?
It depends on your county! In some counties, voters can vote at any polling location; but in other counties, voters must vote in their precinct. Check your county election website to find your voting location or check www.VOTE411.org.
What is on my ballot?
Find your ballot on your county election website or check www.VOTE411.org, which will have all statewide races and local races if there is a League of Women Voters in your community.
Who or what do I vote for?
TRTA does not endorse candidates for political office. However, it is easy to compare candidates on the non-partisan website www.VOTE411.org. You can even print your choices before going to the polls. For more information pertaining specifically to education issues, try visiting Texas Educators Vote, another non-partisan group. You can also check with your fellow TRTA members if you have questions about the candidates running for office in your district.
What about voter ID?
Don’t forget your ID when heading to the polls. Learn more about what types of identification are acceptable by clicking here.
TRTA has many dedicated members putting in effort to civically engage their communities. Thank you! You should feel great about what we have accomplished together so far! Let’s celebrate by crossing the finish line together and have EVERY EDUCATOR VOTE!
TRS Retirees Deserve Better Video: TRS-Care
TRTA has been sounding the alarm for TRS-Care for many, many years. In 2017, these alarms finally sounded loud and clear, and became a new reality for many retirees when the TRS-Care budget shortfall caused increased premiums and decreased benefits for participants.
TRS-Care has been suffering the consequences of a funding formula that relies on active teacher payroll. The funding for retiree health care isn’t linked to the actual costs of running the program. In general, costs for providing health care have sky-rocketed in recent years, and TRS-Care has not been immune from these changes.
The rising health care costs have caused the program to undergo numerous budget shortfalls over the years. Retirees shouldered much of the $1.1 billion shortfall in 2017. Between the state and school districts, the Legislature added $484 million to TRS-Care during the regular session. The special session in August 2017 saw the Legislature put an additional $212 million into TRS-Care.
The additional funding was able to save the program. But the cuts were deep and the changes were severe.
As a result of the changes to TRS-Care, more than 36,000 participants left the program. This is because despite additional funding received from the state, the program as it existed in years past was replaced with a one size fits all plan that doesn’t actually fit all needs for all participants. As a result, many plan participants went to health care marketplace to seek other options.
We are asking all TRTA members to reach out to their legislators and candidates running for political office.
Tell them that your health care costs are too high. The state base funding is too low. We need a permanent solution to this ongoing health care problem. At TRTA, we’ve studied this problem for years. We recommend that the state increase its base funding for TRS-Care by 1 percent now and by .25 percent every year for the next 8 years. Thousands of retirees have contacted TRTA and want the traditional Medicare supplement option for retirees age 65 years and older added back to the plan.
Everyone running for office in Texas should know, understand, and agree that TRS retirees deserve retirement security including affordable, accessible health care. TRS Retirees Deserve Better!