The Texas Retired Teachers Association’s (TRTA) lobbying efforts are being felt at both a state and national level. On Tuesday, Tim Lee, TRTA’s Executive Director, and Ronnie Jung, TRTA’s Pensions Consultant, attended the U.S. House of Ways and Means Committee hearing on The Equal Treatment of Public Servants Act (HR 711).
HR 711 proposes to repeal the current Windfall Elimination Provision and replace it with a newer, fairer formula. Lee testified about the importance of changing the Windfall Elimination Provision, which deprives millions of retired educators, firefighters, police officers and other public workers of their Social Security earnings.
Lee believes that the need to pass HR 711 is an urgent matter. He would like to see Congress accomplish that goal before the end of 2016. To learn more about the meeting read our full recap here. If you would like to know how to get involved, click here.
TRS-Care Meeting Upcoming and TRTA Room Announced
TRS-Care is a health insurance program provided by the Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS). More than 240,000 retired educators rely upon the system for their health insurance. However, TRS-Care is facing a continuing funding crisis. By 2017, TRS-Care could see a funding shortfall of $1.5 billion. If nothing is done, retirees under the health insurance program could see their premiums skyrocket.
March 30 is the first meeting of the TRS-Care study group. We are encouraging TRTA members to attend. The meeting will take place in E1.028. To RSVP, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will have a room and will be providing lunch to those attending the meeting. Our room number is E2.002A, and it will be open from 11AM to 3:30PM.
TRTA is offering a $35 stipend to TRTA members who carpool together. Parking is available in the Capitol Visitors Parking Garage at 12th and San Jacinto streets.
Last year, TRTA successfully persuaded the Texas Legislature to put $768 million into TRS-Care. Your efforts and membership helped make a difference! This funding provided a stopgap to prevent premium increases and benefit reductions for retirees. Nonetheless, Texas legislators were well aware the $768 million did not solve the funding issue for TRS-Care.
TRS-Care’s funding is tied to active teacher payroll. Health care costs are increasing at a much greater rate than teacher payroll, so as these costs grow, the amount of funding in the health insurance program has fallen behind.
Acknowledging that the issue of TRS-Care would require greater effort to solve, the Legislature created a study group to analyze and discuss various options surrounding the program.
The legislative members named to this group are: Senators Joan Huffman (R-Houston) – Co-Chair, Jane Nelson (R-Flower Mound), and Craig Estes (R-Wichita Falls); and Representatives Dan Flynn (R-Canton) – Co-Chair, Trent Ashby (R-Lufkin), and Justin Rodriguez (D-San Antonio).
TRTA and its members have the respect of both congressmen and legislators. Your membership is making a difference as we lobby here in Texas and at the U.S. Capitol. We will continue to bring you the latest updates on all issues involving retired educators.