(New) Updated Email Campaign to Help TRS Retirees…click here to send an email now and read below for the complete update!
TRTA Supports “The Big Deal”
Actuarial Soundness and Helping Retirees Critical to Any TRS Solution
Time is running out this legislative session. Much progress has been made to achieve several TRTA goals. Our members have been involved aggressively, but the Legislature must accomplish some of our remaining objectives. The most important undertaking for our TRTA members is making the fund actuarially sound and getting retirees an increase.
The situation, however, is very tenuous. Deadlines for moving bills through the legislative process are adding pressure to a situation that is charged with difficult choices already. There are literally thousands of bills being considered right now, creating a stressful situation for everyone involved.
Not unlike other legislative sessions, TRTA members are in a tough spot of supporting legislation that is not necessarily popular with active employees and some legislators.
TRTA is very involved in meeting with our friends in both the active employee and school administrative communities. We see these representatives daily. While we may not agree always on the paths to achieving the goals, there is genuine cooperation between the many interest groups and TRTA.
It is TRTA’s first and foremost priority to protect the defined benefit plan for all current and future public education retirees. The plan design is being threatened by numerous circumstances. It is TRTA’s firm stance that a plan MUST be implemented to ensure the long-term health of the pension fund, and it MUST happen this session.
By taking no action on a plan that gets the fund to actuarial soundness (especially when multiple plans have been discussed to reach that goal), TRS retirees risk being placed on the backburner by the Legislature and any interest groups that assert their agenda over helping TRS retirees.
TRTA is the first to admit that the current versions of SB 1458 and HB 1884 are not perfect bills. However, these are the bills that:
- Achieve actuarial soundness;
- Avert a Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) Rule 68 situation;
- Increase state and member contributions modestly to improve the fund’s actuarial condition;
- Raise additional revenue for the TRS fund with a new, reasonable school district contribution;
- Provide many retirees with an increase;
- Help the fund maintain actuarial soundness and continue to provide cost-of-living increases over time for those retirees not included this session;
- Preserves the defined benefit plan and the fund’s value for many decades to come.
These bills have been criticized for many reasons, but most especially for instituting a new age-adjusted annuity for future TRS retirees. The current bill grandfathers 50% of the active educator workforce. Additional discussions have centered on improving that grandfathering provision even more.
TRTA supports whatever maximum grandfathering clause that is plausible, but we also support retirees getting help now! While there has been much discussion about protecting future retiree benefits, we cannot forget that our existing retirees are losing buying power every year the Legislature fails to resolve these issues.
Now is the time to help our retirees. Now is the time to fund TRS adequately and consider modest adjustments to ensure the long-term health of our TRS defined benefit plan.
We cannot say this enough: failure to act is the worst possible scenario! Let’s not allow our fund’s long-term solvency to be called into question. Let’s work with our active school friends to get a workable solution. Let’s tell the Legislature that TRS retirees need to be their priority!
TRTA members, there are only four weeks left this session. We know that many of you are tired of making phone calls, sending emails, and begging decision makers to do the right thing. Legislators are being lobbied heavily to just do nothing with TRS. These bills would have died a long time ago if it were not for the very dedicated TRTA members encouraging their legislators to keep working towards a compromise. Doing nothing will sacrifice retiree needs, and this issue has been ignored for far too long.
In these last four weeks, our voice is vital to getting TRS on a path to actuarial soundness and helping our retirees.
If you support:
- TRS being actuarially sound;
- Helping many of our more senior TRS retirees;
- Creating a plan that ultimately will benefit all TRS retirees;
- Preserving the TRS fund now and in the future;
- Taking control of our retirement system and not letting future circumstances rob us of this great retirement system;
- Making a plan that takes a reasonable, long-term view of managing the system and still delivers on the promise of a defined benefit retirement for all public education retirees…
TRTA will continue to meet with legislative leaders and all interested stakeholders to make these bills better. It is time to recognize that something must be done THIS LEGISLATIVE SESSION! It is time for TRS retirees to be the priority.
Special Editor Inclusion—Quote from Vicki Truitt, TRTA Legislative Consultant and former Texas House member and Chair of the Pensions, Investments and Financial Services Committee:
“Many TRTA members have no idea how much influence their voice has in the legislative process. It is essential, and now is the time to use it!”
Let’s keep up the pressure. Click here to send this important email to your legislators!!
More updates coming this week. New TRS email campaign slated for Thursday! Our momentum is building. We need you and all your friends, family, and fellow retirees to join our efforts. If you are not a member of TRTA and want to join in our struggle to protect retiree benefits and promote the TRS pension benefit program, please contact our office at 1.800.880.1650.
TRTA membership is nearly 80,000 strong! We need ALL our retirees to help us be the voice for public education retirees!! Think about the influence TRTA would have if we doubled our membership! Thank you for all you are doing and for your membership support.