Today, January 24, 2017, the Senate Finance Committee met to discuss several state budget items, including requests from the Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS) for the pension fund and the TRS-Care retiree health insurance program.
Today’s meeting was just the beginning of numerous budget discussions to be had over the course of the legislative session.
Several TRTA members were in attendance today to represent the 250,000-plus participants in TRS-Care and 375,000 retirees statewide. Your voices were heard! TRTA is ready to work with the Legislature, including the health care work group that was appointed by Senate Finance Chairman Jane Nelson, to find solutions that still provide access to quality, affordable health care for our public education retirees.
It is clear from today’s meeting, however, that in order for TRS-Care to survive, everyone will need to pay more. Retirees want to do their part and are ready to do so, but are limited in what they can afford. TRTA is asking the Legislature to prioritize TRS-Care this session, and to develop long-term solutions that include additional state and employer contributions.
TRTA is ready to discuss options such as health care containment with the Senate work group, and there is hope for increased savings to the program. However, these efforts alone will not solve the TRS-Care shortfall. More appropriations are necessary to resolve the current shortfall, and keep the program sustainable for the future.
Members, we know this will be a difficult road, but TRTA wants you to know that you are not walking along this road alone. We have many friends in the Texas Legislature that understand the seriousness of this issue and that our retirees live on fixed incomes. We can solve the TRS-Care crisis, but it will take all of us working together! TRTA is prepared to be your voice in these vital discussions.
Tomorrow, we will provide a more detailed update, sharing some of the questions, comments, and concerns from Senators, as well as information about the status of TRS-Care and the pension fund as provided by TRS Executive Director Brian Guthrie. Testimony given by TRTA Executive Director Tim Lee will also be shared. Please stay tuned for tomorrow’s expanded coverage of today’s Senate Finance Committee meeting.
Thank you for your continued diligence and persistence in contacting your legislators about vital retirement security issues. It is because of you that we are able to establish strong working relationships with legislators and create a better future for all Texas public education retirees.
Thank you for your membership to TRTA. If you are not yet a member, we need you to help us protect your retirement security. Please join TRTA today!