Blog

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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01 Jun
0

TRTA Wishes You A Happy (State Fiscal) New Year!

The Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA) is excited to wish all retired and active school personnel in Texas a “Happy New Year!” School is back in session for our active educators and students, and now is also the time that our 259 local units begin their fall meetings. If you have not renewed your TRTA state membership dues, now is the time! Please contact the TRTA state office to verify if your membership dues of $25 per year have been received (1.800.880.1650).

September provides great opportunities for learning, fellowship and preparation. If you are a member of a local unit, be sure to attend the first meeting of the year! If you are interested in becoming a member of a local unit and want to be a part of the grassroots legislative planning that units are ALREADY working on for the 84thLegislative Session, read more here: http://localunits.org/LocalUnitDirectory.

Many of our members anxiously are awaiting the arrival of their October check from the Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS). Nearly 200,000 TRS retirees will receive a 3% permanent cost-of-living increase (not to exceed $100 per month) beginning in October. For many folks, this is the first real raise they have received since 2001—that’s 12 long years!

This was all made possible by the passing of Senate Bill 1458 during the regular session of the 83rd Texas Legislature. The bill, known as the “TRS Actuarial Soundness Bill,” made several changes to the TRS pension fund which allowed it to meet the state law for financial solvency. This state law (statute 821.006) must be met in order for TRS to be able to provide permanent increases to any of its members.

While not all members of TRS were able to receive a financial boost this year, the bill establishes new sources of revenue and increases contributions to the pension fund, which will make future increases for more members of TRS very possible in the near future.

Our legislators in both the Texas Senate and House worked diligently to craft SB 1458 to protect TRS for the long-term. All voted in favor of the bill in its final version near the end of May 2013. Legislators and their staff members worked for months to achieve this goal, and we want to thank them for their hard work. Without SB 1458, the TRS pension fund would have shown a very large increase in its liabilities by January 2014. This would have created a scenario in which TRS retirees may have never received a COLA ever again.

TRTA is establishing strategies NOW to include ALL TRS retirees in future cost-of-living increases—perhaps even as early as 2015 (the next time the legislature is in regular session).

We need your help to make this happen! Our fight for better benefits for all retirees never ends. TRTA members must also be prepared to face potential changes to their healthcare benefits in the coming years.

It takes all of us working together to protect these vital benefit programs.

If you are not a member and want to join, please call 1.800.880.1650 to learn more!

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26 May
0

VICTORY! Actuarial Soundness Bill Sent to Governor

SB 1458 Passes House Unanimously: Actuarial Soundness Bill on the Way to Governor’s Desk!

CLICK HERE TO SEND A THANK YOU NOTE TO YOUR LEGISLATORS (LET’S MAKE SURE THEY HEAR US ONE LAST TIME BEFORE THE SESSION ENDS!)

Today, the Texas House adopted the final changes to SB 1458 (the “TRS actuarial soundness bill”), and the bill is now on its way to Governor Perry.

The House’s action was the last step for the bill in the Texas Legislature. Governor Perry must now sign or veto the bill, or simply allow the legislation to become law by taking no action. TRTA delivered a letter to the Governor asking him to sign SB 1458 into law.

TRTA members have worked tirelessly this session to protect the TRS fund for all active and retired school employees. Your efforts are unprecedented! More than 110,000 emails were sent by TRTA members supporting this legislation (and that’s just counting those sent from our TRTA legislative email system). Many of you have been calling day and night encouraging legislators to do the right thing. You have educated them on how the defined benefit plan works and that it must be protected.

TRTA is also proud to have partnered with our friends in the active educator community. We have accomplished a lot together, and the TRS fund is stronger because of our steadfast cooperation.

While SB 1458 makes the TRS fund actuarially sound and provides a much needed increase for over 195,000 TRS retirees, the bill does not help everyone.

TRTA knows that the needs of those who retired in 2005 or after are also pressing. While the fund was not able to expand the COLA to those who retired in 2005 or after, we will pursue financial relief for all TRS retirees at every possible opportunity.

Without adoption of this legislation, the pressure to make even more drastic changes to the TRS fund would have increased. Now, the state has a plan to ensure the fund’s long-term future and help retirees in need with a pension increase.

Our work is far from over! TRTA’s membership has grown both in numbers and influence. We have big tasks ahead. A major health care funding crisis is looming next session. Even after the bold, substantive changes in SB 1458, the interest groups that dislike public pension funds will resume their attacks.

For now, though, TRTA members need to know we have won a MAJOR victory this session. We have won a victory for all TRS retirees!

Congratulations TRTA members! Your hard work and dedication have won the day. We are proud of you. Your TRS fund is better because of you. Together, we have made a difference and together we will continue to make a difference.

TRTA will continue to track the progress of SB 1458 as it goes to the Governor and we will continue to provide updates as they happen.

If you are not a member of TRTA and want to join our grassroots advocacy efforts, please contact our office at 1.800.880.1650. TRTA will print a complete legislative wrap-up in the next issue of our membership news bulletin, The VOICE. You will not want to miss this special issue!

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