Two TRTA Bills Set for Floor Action
House Vote on Supplemental Payment Bill and TRS Board Composition set for Monday
Click Here to Send an Email Supporting HB 3542 and HB 2120–Read complete update Below
There is some good news for TRS retirees! Two bills are set on the Texas House Calendar for Monday, May 9. HB 3542 by Representative Larry Gonzales (R-Round Rock), and HB 2120 by Representative Doug Miller (R-New Braunfels) should be taken up in the Texas House sometime Monday. TRTA supports both of these bills and we encourage EVERY TRTA member to send an email or call their Representative asking for their support.
HB 3542 summary: Would allow the TRS Board of Trustees the authority to provide a one-time supplemental payment to TRS retirees contingent upon investment earnings exceeding 8%. Such a payment must maintain the system funding level at 80% or above.
Why TRTA supports this bill:
· Retirees received a supplemental payment in 2007, and it was a big help to hundreds of thousands of TRS annuitants that are struggling to keep up with their bills and health care costs.
· Retirees have not received a permanent pension increase in 10 years.
· The buying power of TRS retirees has diminished by over 30% since 2001.
· The economic impact on local communities is substantial, in that 95% of TRS benefits—over $6.2 billion—are paid directly to retirees who live in and spend these dollars in Texas.
· TRS earns over $80 million per day in investments. The cost to the system for providing this one-time payment could, theoretically, be earned back in four days or less.
· This one-time payment is financed through investment earnings over and above the system’s 8% investment expectations and protects the stability of the pension fund by ensuring payment will only be made if it is at least 80 percent funded.
· The one-time expenditure would not have an impact on the state’s general revenue fund.
· This is not a permanent shift away from legislative authority in granting pension increases or supplemental payments to the TRS Board of Trustees. This is a one-time, emergency relief measure using investment earnings over and above the actuarially assumed return.
This is a good bill. TRTA is very grateful to Representative Larry Gonzales for authoring this legislation and working to get it to the House floor. It protects the pension fund and provides retirees with a supplemental payment just like the one in 2008. TRTA needs your support on this legislation. Your Representative needs to hear from you. Please, click the link below to send your email asking for their support on HB 3542. TRTA provides the basic letter for your convenience, but you may want to enter some information about how a supplemental payment may help you during these difficult economic times.
HB 2120 by Representative Doug Miller: Would allow the designated higher education retiree position on the TRS Board of Trustees to be open to any member of TRS, including public education and higher education retirees as well as active teacher members.
Why TRTA supports this bill:
· It would allow public education retirees and active members the possibility of greater representation on the TRS Board of Trustees.
· It would stimulate more interest among TRS members to pursue board positions.
· It would encourage members to become more involved in decision-making at TRS.
Last session, Representative Miller championed legislation adding a second retiree on the TRS Board of Trustees. The bill was passed unanimously out of the Texas Legislature, but was then vetoed by Governor Perry. TRTA has worked diligently with Representative Miller develop a new bill that is designed to get more parties involved in the TRS election process and one that would not take any direct appointments away from the Governor. This, too, is a good bill and we need the Texas House to support HB 2120. Please click the link below to send an email to your Representative asking for their support on HB 2120.
Update on Other TRTA Action Alerts
Thousands of TRTA members have sent emails and made phone calls supporting other TRTA action alerts in the Texas House and Senate. Action on the bills in these chambers has simply slowed down and we are hopeful that the Gooden/Villarreal amendments in the House and action in the Senate on TRS funding and supporting Senator Robert Duncan’s proposals will occur sometime next week. If you would like to send another email or participate in these legislative campaigns, you may do so by clicking the links below.
Again, TRTA is so thankful for your help and support. We have many legislators working to get things done for you. The good news is progress is being made, and we cannot thank you enough for taking the time to support TRTA with your communication and your membership.
If you are not a TRTA member, but would like to join, please contact our office at 1.800.880.1650 and we will be happy to assist in any way we can.
TRTA Action Alert Center (Click any link below to send your Action Alert Email)