The Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA) extends its seasons greetings to all members and friends. As the year draws to a close, we know our dedicated retirees will enjoy spending time with loved ones and celebrating the holidays.
We at TRTA, the Board of Directors and staff, want to express our sincere appreciation to all of you for all of the support you have given to this great organization in 2016.
Because of you, TRTA is able to participate in vital legislative discussions that impact your retirement benefits, from the Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS) pension fund to health care, and our charitable partner, the Texas Retired Teachers Foundation (TRTF), has raised over $70,000 since November for its vital programs to help educators of the past, present and future.
In 2016, our members eagerly anticipated the results of the legislative interim study group on TRS-Care. The group’s report was released in late November. Read TRTA’s analysis of the report here.
The report, though grim, is the first step in a series of steps that must be taken to find long-term solutions to the health insurance program’s fiscal issues.
In 2017, we will face many challenges. Legislative session begins on January 10, and TRTA is ready to work with our many friends in the legislature to find workable, sustainable solutions for your TRS health care program. TRTA will also work to find any opportunities for an annuity increase for retirees, and it is our strong belief that 2017 may be the year we truly advance a fair and realistic solution to the first of two Social Security issues, the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP)!
Though we hope you find time to have rest and respite over the coming weeks, we also ask that you take time to read the soon-to-be-released fourth quarter issue of our news bulletin, The VOICE. These will begin arriving in mailboxes next week!
You will notice that in addition to a detailed analysis of the interim study group report, we are asking all members to send a personal note to their legislators about what TRS-Care means to them. On page five, you will find a template letter, with plenty of space to add your comments and share your heartfelt concerns. After completing the letter, be sure to include your name and address so that your legislators will know how to contact you. The page is perforated for easy removal.
To make it easier for our members, we ask that you simply mail your completed letter to the TRTA state office in Austin (313 E. 12th Street, Suite 200, Austin, TX, 78701). Our staff will organize the letters by legislator, and members of the TRTA State Legislative Committee will begin hand-delivering your notes to all Senators and Representatives in January.
We want every legislator to receive a letter, in fact, multiple letters! Even if you think your Senator or Representative already has received several letters, send in another one!
Now is our opportunity to reach out to the Texas Legislature and work with them to find better options for TRS-Care. Without your input, this effort will be more challenging. Your legislators need to hear from you, their constituents, in your own words!
Let them know that you want to be a part of the solution. Ask them for their help in ensuring that public education retirees have access to quality, affordable health care.
After the first of the year, TRTA will also launch an online letter campaign to Governor Abbott, Lt. Governor Patrick, and Speaker Straus. All of these leaders have supported TRTA in the past, and we look forward to their guidance and help in the coming legislative session.
Thank you for your membership to TRTA. If you are not yet a member, we need you to help us protect your retirement security. Please join TRTA today!
If you know someone who should be a member of TRTA who has not yet joined, please consider buying them a TRTA membership—just $35—as a gift for this holiday season!
Remember to check your mailboxes for the latest issue of The VOICE, arriving next week, and send in your personal, handwritten letter to your legislators. We hope you and yours have a wonderful holiday season!
Be sure to like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and subscribe to our YouTube channel. Year-end, tax-deductible donations to TRTF can be made online here.