Blog

11 May
0

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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07 May
0

Cost-of-Living Adjustment Talking Points

The Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA) is pushing for a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) or a supplemental payment for retired educators this legislative session! HB 3214, the COLA bill with the most traction at this time, has still not been set for debate by the full Texas House. HB 3507, the supplemental payment bill with the most traction at this time, has also not been set for debate by the full Texas House.

TRTA is encouraging its members to contact their legislators and show support for these bills! TRTA has developed a document with talking points on why retirees need a COLA now! Stay tuned to the Inside Line, as next week we will be providing an Action Alert on this very important subject.

TRTA Executive Director Tim Lee, TRTA Legislative Coordinator Larry Yawn, and TRTA State Legislative Committee Chair Nancy Byler hosted a Facebook Live event today. They discussed the current state of the COLA and supplemental payment. If you missed the live discussion, watch the recording here.

Thank You!

Thank you for giving hope during this time of uncertainty and every day for retirees in need. Your support helps TRTF to be ready at a moment’s notice when sudden and unavoidable disasters occur.

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07 May
0

TRTF Offering Disaster Relief Assistance to TRS Retirees

The Texas Retired Teachers Foundation (TRTF) is offering assistance to retirees impacted by winter storm Uri. The assistance comes in the form of one-time grants through TRTF.

The TRTF Board of Trustees has determined that any retiree who is receiving benefits from the Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS) is eligible to apply for an automatic, one-time $250 grant from the Disaster Relief Short-Term Fund. This short-term grant will be given directly to the applicant.

If you suffered extensive damage to your home, please consider applying for a Disaster Relief Long-Term Grant. Examples of assistance include fixing broken pipes from the freeze. This grant can be approved for up to $1,000 per applicant and is paid directly to a vendor on behalf of the grant seeker.

How to Apply 

To request an application for assistance, please send an email to help@trtf.org and specify if you are needing a Short-Term Grant applicant or a Long-Term Grant application.

Want to Help?

If you would like to help provide emergency funds to retirees in need, please consider making a donation to the TRTF Disaster Relief Program today! Your donation, no matter the amount, will help TRTF respond to requests for emergency assistance immediately and provide much-needed support to retirees.

Let us know if you know of a retiree who needs help! Many may have limited access to communications services, and you may be a lifeline between TRTF and someone in need. Contact us at 1.800.880.1650 (ask for Sarah) or send an email to help@trtf.org.

Tim Lee to Host Facebook Friday Today

As members of the Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA) know, there is still much work to do as the 87th Legislative Session enters its final weeks.

Please be sure to tune in TODAY (Friday, May 7) at 2:00 p.m. Central to hear from TRTA Executive Director Tim Lee, TRTA Legislative Coordinator Larry Yawn, and Nancy Byler about how we can achieve a COLA for retirees this session and how you can help move this process along!

You may view this live event on TRTA’s Facebook page and YouTube channel! You do not need to have an account with either service to view the video.

There are many other pending issues and bills we are following and you will receive an update about those as well!

Thank You!

Thank you for giving hope during this time of uncertainty and every day for retirees in need. Your support helps TRTF to be ready at a moment’s notice when sudden and unavoidable disasters occur.

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