House Calendar Deadline Approaches, COLA Bill Unlikely to Advance

The deadline for Texas House bills to be added to the House Calendar is tonight, and there has not been traction on HB 3214, which would provide a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for retired educators. The Legislature has the authority to pass a benefit enhancement for retirees so long as it doesn’t increase the date by which Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS) can pay off its unfunded liabilities past 31 years. The Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA) supports HB 3214 because it would provide a 6% COLA, capped at $100 per month, for retirees and meets the statutory requirements.

TRTA’s legislative team continues to work diligently with legislators to find a path to help retirees. TRTA’s efforts at the Capitol have been supported by a massive grassroots involvement from TRTA members. You’ve sent red letters, attended Zoom meetings, sent countless emails, made numerous phone calls, and held in-person meetings at the Capitol, but the window to pass a COLA bill is finite and is closing quickly. To our TRTA member and supports, and on behalf of the TRTA Board of Directors, legislative team, and staff, thank you for your efforts. You’ve made a huge difference in our ability to change the trajectory of bills this session.

TRTA has produced a number of significant successes this legislative session. TRTA worked with legislators to infuse $5 billion from state of Texas into the TRS pension plan, and by doing so, helped protect defined benefit plan for current and future retirees. Meanwhile, the Texas Employees Retirement System (ERS) is moving towards a cash balance plan for future employees, which defines the promised benefit in terms of a stated account balance, characteristic of a defined contribution plan. TRS will be the last standing statewide traditional defined benefit plan for Texas public workers.

TRTA has also worked to pass the TRS Sunset bill, which includes a number of important improvements and reforms to TRS, including the creation of an ombudsmen position. Additionally, TRTA has helped to advance return-to-work reform, which previously unfairly punished retired educators who returned to the classroom.

With less than three weeks remaining in this session, TRTA will continue the search for a benefit increase for retirees, including a 13th check.

TRTA will offer a more detailed analysis regarding HB 3214’s struggle to gain enough traction to be added to the House calendar. Stay tuned to the Inside Line as we explore options to help retirees.

Thank You!

The TRTA membership drive is underway for the coming 2021-22 membership year. No other group focuses solely on your TRS retirement security! Please join us today!

Thank you for being a member of TRTA and supporting issues that affect retired Texas public school personnel. Be sure to download the TRTA app to receive all of the latest updates and communicate with your fellow retirees.

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