16 May 2013

Actuarial Soundness Bill Ready for Action Tomorrow

SB 1458 in Texas House Tomorrow—Phone Calls Needed

TRTA Call Your Legislator Hotline: 1.888.674.3788

Dear TRTA Members and Friends,

You have done a great job expressing the importance of SB 1458. Your TRTA legislative team has visited with every House member, asking for their support. We know you have too, and the work is paying off!

As of this morning, we have heard that over 60 House members support the legislation. There are more than 25 undecided members. Of all the information received, not a single House member has expressed opposition to the plan.

There seems to be hope that more is possible with this legislation. There is no doubt that SB 1458 came out of the Senate as a very heavily negotiated and EXTREMELY delicate, balanced plan. Amending this legislation in the House may lead to its defeat.

TRTA has worked actively to increase the COLA. We want to assure you that the most number of retirees possible are helped by this bill. If there is a way to help more retirees, we will work to make it happen.

We also know that the passing of SB 1458, a bill we refer to as the actuarial soundness bill, ensures long-term solvency of the fund and that retirees are not forgotten.

This plan makes future raises much more likely, and protects the retirement security of 1.3 million Texans.

The most important thing our members can do right now is call their legislators and ask them to support the sponsor of SB 1458 in the Texas House, Chairman Bill Callegari.

TRTA is in regular communication with Chairman Callegari. His leadership is vital to the passage of this bill, but he cannot do it alone.

Let your Representative know that TRTA is urging them to follow Callegari’s lead on SB 1458!

Your emails have been great: you have sent tens of thousands! Our legislators need to HEARyour voice. Let them know TRTA by our kindness and passionate support of public education retirees. Educate them on the value of making the fund sound, and let them know your desire to get SB 1458 passed.

Confidence and kind words of appreciation will do more to inspire goodwill towards this legislation than anything else we can do at this time.

We are working every moment of every day to protect your TRS benefits. We want the best for all TRS members, both retired and active. That starts with making sure the fund will be strong now and in the future. That assurance can be renewed with the passage of SB 1458!

Thank you for all you do. TRTA members interested in coming to the Capitol on Friday to watch the proceedings are encouraged to arrive no later than 10:30 a.m. While we have no guarantee of when the bill will be heard, you should prepare to stay as late as 4:00 p.m. TRTA legislative team members will be involved on your behalf until the very last vote is counted!

Read More
15 May 2013

Actuarial Soundness Bill Set for Friday

Update on SB 1458

Actuarial Soundness Bill will be Heard Friday: Call your Representative Now! Click here to send an email (new email messaging!)

The Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA) continues to push Senate Bill 1458, the legislation that would make the Teacher Retirement System (TRS) pension fund actuarially sound and provide over 100,000 retirees with a benefit increase.

As of today, SB 1458 is posted for House action on Friday, May 17, 2013. YOUR help made this happen! Now, let’s continue to secure as much support for this bill as possible.

TRTA has updated its email advocacy campaign with several rotating letters that you can send to your Representative! TRTA is adding new content to this email campaign daily. CLICK HERE TO SEND AN EMAIL NOW!

We are also asking our members to reach out to their Representatives via telephone and ask them if they support SB 1458! Use our Legislator Hotline: 1.888.674.3788. Click here to find out who represents you.

TRTA wants to know if your legislator has committed to supporting this vital bill!Please contact us and let us know what you hear when you call your Representative’s office. Will your Representative vote “YES” for SB 1458? Leave us a message on our Facebook page or email us at

Members, you have been working hard for the past several weeks to move legislation that will have a positive impact on the TRS pension fund for years to come. We are closer than we have been in years to having an actuarially sound system.

We are extremely close to getting an immediate benefit increase for some of our more senior retirees, while creating the possibility for future benefit increases for ALL retirees as our system grows with new and enhanced revenue sources.

THANK YOU FOR YOUR HARD WORK! We began this session by fighting to get a modest increase in contributions to our fund and beating back attacks on the TRS defined benefit plan. We have all pushed through day by day to now have a bill that makes the fund actuarially sound and put us on a path to helping all current and future TRS retirees.

The progress TRTA has made in a mere five months is ASTOUNDING.

Let’s let our Representatives know how hard we have fought to achieve this goal and tell them not to let this opportunity slip through their fingers! Now is the time to make the TRS pension fund actuarially sound and protect our system for all current and future retirees!

Thank for your being a member of TRTA and an advocate for TRS retirees all over the state. If you are not a member and would like more information about joining in our grassroots efforts, please contact us at 1.800.880.1650.

West, Texas Relief Update

Members, we also want to update you on some great news! Many of you have donated generously to our Foundation’s West Relief Fund. We have received a tremendous response, raising over $25,000!

The TRTF Board has begun the process of distributing the funds to those in need. Thank you so much for your support! Our members are great advocates for one another in every possible way!

Read More
13 May 2013

TRTA Alert: House Action Needed on SB 1458

TRTA Member Alert: This Week Vital for Achieving Major Legislative Goals

Updated TRTA Email Campaign, Click Here//TRTA Call Your Legislator Hotline 1.888.674.3788 (find out who represents you, click here)

Last week was a turning point for all TRS members. A bill (SB 1458) aimed at the long-term funding of the Teacher Retirement System (TRS) defined benefit plan passed the Senate and was sent to the House. Texas House Pensions Chairman Bill Callegari received the bill in committee, where it received an immediate and unanimous vote and was sent to the next step. Now, we are fighting the clock as the end of session nears and as a stack of other bills are trying to get through the process.

Time is not on our side.

There is one thing that SB 1458 has going for it that many of other pieces of legislation may not: an army of 80,000-plus TRTA members fighting to pass it! While this bill was progressing in the Senate, TRTA members sent over 55,000 emails and made thousands of phone calls. We need your help to keep the pressure on in the House!!

By now, you know the major components of this legislation.

  • Actuarial soundness this year (before this session started, this goal was considered a “never”).
  • A 3% cost-of-living increase for those who retired in 1999 and before (TRTA is doing a special report on this proposed COLA later this week).
  • Over $200 million in increased state contributions, which raises TRS funding to 6.8% in both FY 2014 and FY 2015.
  • A gradual increase in active member contributions from 6.4% in FY 2014 to 7.7% in FY 2017.
  • A new school district contribution to the TRS fund of 1.5%.
  • A link between active member, school district, and state contributions that will make reducing state contributions in the future far more difficult.
  • Preservation of the TRS defined benefit plan for ALL TRS employees and retirees.
  • A path to additional increases for all TRS retirees as the fund improves its actuarial condition under these new initiatives.

Over the last few sessions, the TRS fund has been under heavy attack by groups that want to rid the state of its defined benefit traditional retirement plans. The state has been unwilling to make reasonable long-term commitments to funding TRS. TRS retirees have suffered 12 years with no cost-of-living increases, and were not shown a real plan to make the fund sound and help our retirees in need.

Now, we finally have a chance to implement real solutions to these problems. It’s time for action!

There are always ways to improve legislation. TRTA is working with EVERY member of the Texas House to see what may be possible. Especially important to TRTA is the expansion of the COLA.

Time is running out. The good news for all TRS retirees is that the Legislature has worked hard to keep TRS-Care premiums from increasing for another biennium. If we are able to secure this, it will be 10 years that TRTA and its members have protected TRS retiree health care costs.

It is also important to stress that this legislation is the best possible path to TRS long-term actuarial soundness. Achieving this goal allows TRS to use its investment earnings to improve the overall financial condition of the fund AND incorporate cost-of-living raises over time.

Without the provisions in this bill, the TRS fund’s long-term financial condition will continue to worsen, no retiree will get any cost-of-living increase this session, and we will not be on a path to making COLAs possible any time soon.

Let’s not end this session knowing that we were THIS CLOSE to actuarial soundness and helping TRS retirees. Let’s make this the session that we rebuffed any attacks on TRS and put the system on solid financial footing for all current and future TRS retirees!

Click here to send an email today! Your communication is VITAL!!! Please understand the level of noise now involved in the legislative process. Every interest group is vying for legislative attention in these last weeks of session.

YOU are TRTA’s VOICE! Let’s make sure the Legislature knows this must be done!!

Be sure to email and call every day this week!! Focus on your own legislators, but be ready for more specific messaging later this week!

Thank you for being a vital part of the TRTA statewide team! If you are not a member and want more information about joining, call us at1.800.880.1650. Your membership is the foundation that allows TRTA to be your champion in the Texas Legislature. TRTA dues are $25 per year.

Read More