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17 Jun 2013
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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 2013
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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 2013
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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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