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26 Jul
0

Breaking News! TRS Board Meets and Approves Resolution to Implement Cost-of-Living Increase

Breaking News!

TRS Board Meets and Approves Resolution to Implement Cost-of-Living Increase

TRTA Urges Discussion on TRS-Care

The Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS) Board of Trustees met in Austin for their regularly scheduled meeting on Friday, July 26. Numerous items relating to the TRS pension fund, its investment performance, TRS policies and more were discussed.

Perhaps the most significant action taken by the TRS Board was the approval of a resolution directing the TRS staff to implement the cost-of-living increase for qualifying retirees in accordance with the passage of SB 1458 this last legislative session. Retirees who retired as of August 31, 2004 or before will receive a 3% increase (not to exceed $100 per month by statute). The increase is projected to be effective for the September annuity payment (which is received in October).

The TRS Board also adopted a resolution that maintains the TRS-Care health insurance plan and its benefit structure for the coming fiscal year. In addition, the TRS Board is maintaining premiums for all TRS-Care participants. TRTA has worked hard to ensure that the TRS-Care program is an affordable, quality benefit for participants. We have worked with the TRS Board and the Legislature to maintain this plan and safeguard the premium structure. Today’s decision by the TRS Board marks 9 years that premiums have not increased. This would not have been possible without the hard work of our TRTA members!

It was also reported today that TRS-Care will have exhausted its reserve funding completely sometime in FY 2016. Projections are that the plan will experience a near $1 billion shortfall in FY 2017. Tim Lee, TRTA Executive Director, addressed the TRS Board on this matter. “We can all agree that we enjoyed a successful 83rd Legislative Session, but TRTA’s attention is turning to the TRS-Care program and what may come in the 84th Legislative Session,” Lee said. The TRS-Care program covers over 235,000 TRS retirees and dependents. “We must be proactive and begin discussing the various proposals to our TRS-Care funding issues. TRTA is ready to work on these issues now and to bring stakeholders together to address them in advance of the next legislative session,” he concluded.

Finally, the TRS Board recognized two trustees whose terms have now expired. Ms. Charlotte Clifton, who serves as one of the active member trustees, and Mr. Eric McDonald, who serves as a trustee with financial expertise, concluded their duties with TRS. Both trustees have served since 2008 and entered their service during some of the most difficult financial times in our nation’s history. They helped lead the system during those challenging times, and the fund has benefited tremendously from their leadership and steadfast commitment to all TRS members. TRTA greatly appreciates the work, dedication, and public service that Ms. Clifton and Mr. McDonald have given to TRS over the years.

TRTA will continue to monitor the implementation of the TRS cost-of-living adjustment and the issues surrounding our TRS-Care program. Thank you for your membership in the Texas Retired Teachers Association. We are making a strong case for protecting and improving the benefits for all TRS retirees. While we have accomplished much, there is still more we must do! Your dedication is the reason TRTA is successful.

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17 Jun
0

Breaking News: Gubernatorial Action on SB 1458

Breaking News: Gubernatorial Action on SB 1458

Governor Rick Perry Signs SB 1458 into Law

Over 1.3 million TRS retired and active members can rest a little easier tonight knowing that Governor Rick Perry has officially signed SB 1458, the “TRS Actuarial Soundness Bill” into law.

Texas Retired Teacher Association (TRTA) members have been working on this legislation for a long time, and your efforts have paid off.

TRTA members sent over 115,000 emails in support of this legislation during the regular session. Tens of thousands of phone calls, and hundreds of personal visits to legislators have helped carry this legislation through to its final step and become law.

Your TRS fund will now be actuarially sound!

TRS is already working to implement the 3 percent cost of living increase for over 195,000 TRS retirees whose retirement date was August 31, 2004 or before. That programming could be done late this summer so that retirees will see the increase in their September annuity payment (received around the first of October 2013).

Those TRS retirees not receiving the annuity increase as part of this legislation should know that the fund’s improving actuarial condition will help pave the way for future increases for all retirees. TRTA will continue to fight for all TRS retirees to receive an increase in their annuity!

These actuarial soundness measures make your TRS Texas pension fund one of the healthiest, best funded, and most solid defined benefit plans in the country! The work done by TRTA, our friends in the Legislature, and our partners in the active educator community will have generational impact for the benefit of all current and future TRS retirees!

Now, let’s tell our story! Let your friends, former colleagues, and everyone know that TRTA fought for them this session. We did not give up! We have never given up! TRTA members have stood strong even in those years when it seemed this day may never come!

Your work, your dedication, your willingness to stand up and fight for this important legislation have paved the way for a better future for all retired public education employees.

While we know that the attacks on our fund have not died and that we will face major health care funding challenges next session, let’s all take a moment to thank our friends who made this possible and take the time to recognize what a great accomplishment this is for all TRS members.

Let’s also reflect on all those TRTA members who worked so hard to help us get to this moment and may no longer be with us to enjoy the victory. We have all been in this together for many years and those efforts have helped make your TRS fund actuarially sound!

On behalf of the TRTA Board of Directors and the TRTA staff, I want to thank every TRTA member, TRS retiree, active educator, legislator, agency staffer, friend, and TRTA supporter. Your support is appreciated more than we can say. Well done.

If you are not a TRTA member and want to join in our proven advocacy efforts to support all TRS retirees, please contact our office at 1.800.880.1650, or by email to info@trta.org. We will be happy to answer any membership questions you may have.

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05 Jun
0

Awaiting Gubernatorial Action

Gubernatorial Action on SB 1458 Still Pending

Governor Response to SB 1458 Due by June 16th

TRTA has been in close contact with Governor Rick Perry’s office about SB 1458, the “TRS Actuarial Soundness Bill” that passed this session.

The good news is that TRTA members will not have long to wait to learn if the Governor will sign the bill. The deadline for gubernatorial action is June 16th.

Additionally, TRTA has had many positive conversations with the Governor’s staff and there is a mutual understanding that making the TRS fund actuarially sound is a top priority.

We will keep you posted as this legislation moves through the process in the Governor’s office. For now, TRTA members should feel encouraged that the bill is being given very positive and serious consideration.

While a major push to ensure positive gubernatorial action does not seem necessary, TRTA members are still encouraged to call Governor Perry’s office and leave a message supporting SB 1458. That number is (800) 843-5789.

If the Governor Signs the Bill, When Will Retirees Get their Increase

TRS retirees who retired on August 31, 2004 or before will receive a 3% increase in their annuity as part of the deal reached in SB 1458. Many retirees want to know when the increase will occur.

We should learn more definitive answers later this month at the next TRS Board of Trustees meeting. The annuity increase provision has an effective date of the start of the next state fiscal year, or September 1, 2013. If TRS is able to make the programmatic changes needed for this increase over the summer, it is possible that retirees will see the increase in their September annuity payment, the payment received near October 1, 2013.

We will keep you posted on any new information we receive from TRS.

TRTA Fact Sheet on SB 1458

Members who want to know more about SB 1458 can click here to read a comprehensive fact sheet. Please feel free to share this page with your fellow retirees and active educator friends.

TRTA receives questions about how SB 1458 will impact retirees, active teachers and future educators. The official TRTA fact page answers all of those questions! Be sure to get your FREE copy today (click here).

TRTA Special Legislative Wrap-up

TRTA members did a great job this legislative session. TRTA’s news bulletin, The VOICE, features a complete wrap-up of the 83rd Legislative Session. All members will receive a copy in the mail in late June.
We are putting the final touches on the bulletin. The next membership news bulletin is also our 60th Anniversary Commemorative issue! You will not want to miss this exciting and informative publication!

Membership Update

TRTA is very grateful for all our members! Many of you have renewed your dues for the year already. Again, we say “Thank You!” If you have not renewed your membership or you want to join in TRTA’s PROVEN efforts to protect and improve your TRS benefits, please contact our office at 1.800.880.1650. We will answer any questions you may have happily. If you would rather email us your membership questions, please contact us at info@trta.org.

Almost 80,000 TRTA members joined with us this past year. Your efforts helped us achieve many goals this legislative session. We must continue to grow and educate all retirees about our efforts.

Two of the biggest legislative challenges we have ever faced will occur next session: protecting our health insurance benefits and helping retirees that were not included in this session’s cost-of-living increase! Let’s continue to build our numbers, boost our influence, and use our voice to help all TRS retirees!

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