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12 Mar
0

TRTA Convention Registration Deadline Extended: 4 Days Left to Register!

Registration for the 66th Annual TRTA Convention to be held in Austin, Texas April 1–2, 2019 has been extended to this Friday, March 15! TRTA members can register online by clicking here.

This year’s theme is Connecting the Dots to TRTA’s Success, a meaningful metaphor that matches TRTA’s legislative goals as we head into another challenging session in the Texas capital city! The convention will be held at the Austin Hilton on 500 E. 4th Street.

There is no better time to be in Austin! The Texas Legislature will be in regular session, discussing such vital issues as the TRS–Care health insurance program and ways to protect the longevity of benefits for our public education retirees and pre–retirees.

More than 1,000 TRTA members are expected to come to Austin to receive training, hear from legislators, and receive a comprehensive legislative session update. This year’s sessions include “Making a Digital Memory Book,” “Benefits of Owning a Pet,” “The Texas Silver Haired Legislature,” officer and committee training sessions, and more!

Members will convene for a Pep Rally on the afternoon of April 2 to prepare for the April 3 TRTA Day at the Capitol event and learn how TRTA wants the Legislature to #RaisetheBase. A complete schedule of convention events is listed here. A full update about TRTA Day at the Capitol was emailed last week and can be found online here.

Don’t forget to submit your convention registration by this Friday, March 15! REGISTER NOW! We look forward to seeing you in Austin on April 1.

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08 Mar
0

The March is On!

Executive Summary:

March is the most crucial month for legislative action on issues that impact you and your fellow public education retirees. The Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA) is moving full steam ahead, and we need your help!

Contact your legislator today by clicking here!

The Texas Legislature is moving at a rapid pace, finalizing budget discussions, hearing bills in committee, having heated floor session debates, and we need them to be THINKING ABOUT YOU while they are doing the work of Texas!

The march is on to #RAISETHEBASE funding for the pension fund and TRS-Care!

The Teacher Retirement System (TRS) of Texas Pension Fund

Senator Joan Huffman (R – Houston) filed Senate Bill 12 that, if passed, would make the pension fund actuarially sound and provide retirees with a 13th check. Per a press release written by Huffman’s office, “by addressing TRS’s solvency problem with a conservative plan, the Legislature can secure the retirement for teachers!”

The press release continues “the proposed bill would increase state, district, and active employees’ pension contributions over a six-year period. The bill would also provide a “13th check” to ALL retired school employees, putting more money in retirees’ hands immediately.”

In the Texas House, Representative Greg Bonnen (R – Friendswood) has filed House Bill 9. HB 9 would make the pension fund actuarially sound by raising the state contribution to TRS to 8.8 percent over time as well as provide a one-time payment to retired teachers. The current state contribution rate is 6.8 percent and is the lowest in the nation among non-mandatory Social Security states.

“Making TRS actuarially sound treats teachers like the professionals they are,” Bonnen said. “Retired teachers are at the forefront of all we do this session.”

Read more about each bill and how the Senate and House are working together to address TRS pension funding in this Austin American-Statesman article.

If you are a retiree or an active educator thinking about retiring, then this conversation is about you!

The 66th Annual TRTA Convention

TRTA is busy finalizing all of the intricate details that go into planning an amazing annual convention and business meeting. Next week, TRTA will send out training session schedules and more! The registration deadline has been extended to March 15, 2019!

If you are attending convention and want to be trained on being the best TRTA advocate you can be, then this conversation is about you!

TRTA Day at the Capitol on April 3

TRTA is marching on the Texas Capitol grounds on Wednesday, April 3, with thousands of retirees ready to rally to #RAISETHEBASE! If you want to attend this day of grassroots advocacy and make your voice heard and get your legislators thinking about you, then make a plan to join us on April 3! Don’t miss this great opportunity to band together with your fellow retirees!

If you want to make the pension fund sound and able to provide cost-of-living adjustments to its retirees and you want to keep TRS-Care affordable for yourself, your fellow retirees, and future retirees, then this conversation is about you!

Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP)

TRTA Executive Director Tim Lee visited Boston, Massachusetts last week to meet with our national partners about what the next steps are in repealing this unfair federal provision! Next week, TRTA will let you know more about progress on the WEP!

Are your earned Social Security wages being taken away from you? Then this conversation is about you!

The Most Important Things You Can Be Doing Right Now

TRTA needs your help! March is the month that will make all the difference in our legislative agenda! LET’S SET OUR GOALS HIGH AND GO FOR THEM! THE MARCH IS ON!

1. Call Your Legislators
Use our toll-free hotline 1.888.674.3788. Let’s make 25,000 phone calls in March! Make regular, once-weekly phone calls to your elected officials asking them to “Raise the Base Funding for the Pension Fund and TRS-Care!”

2. Email Your Legislators
Email your elected officials! TRTA members have sent thousands of emails so far this session. Let’s send 50,000 emails this month!

Send your email today by clicking here!

3. RSVP to TRTA Day at the Capitol
Make a plan to join us at Day at the Capitol on Wednesday, April 3! RSVP via Facebook here!

Thank You

Thank you for your membership to TRTA. We are fighting ardently for your benefits every day at the Capitol. If you are not yet a TRTA member, please join here.

Be sure to like us on Facebookfollow us on Twitter and subscribe to our YouTube channel.

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05 Mar
0

Texas House Proposes Sweeping Reforms to TRS Pension Plan and School Finance System

Members of the Texas House of Representatives held a press conference today to announce the House plan to fund public education and the TRS. House Speaker Dennis Bonnen (R – Angleton) who was surrounded by a majority of the members of the House from both parties introduced the plan and threw his leadership weight behind the legislation.

The plan includes HB 3 related to school finance by Dan Huberty (R-Kingswood) who serves as chair of the public education committee and HB 9 by Greg Bonnen (R-Friendswood) who serves as chair of the appropriations subcommittee that handles education and TRS funding.

Huberty described his bill, HB 3, as a comprehensive plan including over 9 billion dollars to reform the school finance and education system and reduce school property taxes. Bonnen’s bill, HB 9, proposes to make the TRS pension fund actuarially sound and provide a 13thcheck (not to exceed $2,400) to retired educators.

Together these bills seek to provide support to every Texas school and the students they serve and recognize and support public educators from recruitment to retirement. Both Huberty and Bonnen stressed the urgency of taking action on these issues during this session.

“Making TRS actuarially sound treats teachers like the professionals they are,” Bonnen said. “Retired teachers are at the forefront of all we do this session.”

HB 9 would make the pension fund actuarially sound by raising the state contribution to TRS to 8.8 percent over time as well as provide a one-time payment to retired teachers. The current state contribution rate is 6.8 percent, and is the lowest in the nation among non-mandatory Social Security states.

The next step for HB 9 is to receive a committee hearing.

Yesterday, Sen. Joan Huffman (R – Houston) filed, SB 12, which would make the TRS fund actuarially sound and provide a one-time supplemental payment (capped at $500) to retirees. Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick issued a press release about SB 12, which you may read here. The actions in the Senate and House are great first steps to reaching TRTA’s legislative priorities this session and demonstrate that both houses of the Legislature are willing to work with TRTA to make positive progress for retired educators.

Both the Senate and the House are talking about real funding solutions for TRS and raising the base. However, these bills are not a done deal, and they have a lot of room for development. The development is going to include retiree input. It’s up to us to support and communicate with legislators.

TRTA members, your legislators are listening! The march is on to make headway on bills relating to your retirement! We want to see the Texas Legislature #RAISETHEBASE to improve the health of the TRS pension fund and TRS-Care fund.

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