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23 Jan 2017
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Senate Finance Meets Tomorrow! Contact Your State Senators Today!

CLICK HERE TO EMAIL YOUR SENATOR

The Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA) is so grateful for its members, who continue to be proactive and focused on pertinent issues this legislative session!

TRTA members already have sent more than 1,700 emails to their Senators about tomorrow’s very important Senate Finance meeting. If you have not emailed your Senator yet, please do so today!

This meeting is just the beginning of budget discussions that will go on for the next five months regarding TRS-Care and the pension fund! Every Senator must be informed about TRS-Care’s looming shortfall.

Public comment will be welcome at the meeting as well. If you wish to attend or speak, please arrive at the meeting tomorrow (Tuesday, January 24, 2017) no later than 8:30 a.m. in room E1.036 of the Texas Capitol. A live broadcast of the meeting will be viewable on your computer from this link once the meeting begins at 9:00 a.m.

TRTA Membership Continues to Grow!

TRTA has grown to more than 81,000 members! Thank you for being a part of our organization and helping us advocate for the 375,000 retirees of the Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS) and the 1,000,000-plus pre-retirees (active educators) who will also count on TRS for their retirement security one day!

If you know of a fellow retiree who is not yet a member, please encourage them to join us! Each new member helps us work for better TRS-Care funding and for improved benefits such as cost-of-living increases!

Many members have asked us about our legislative agenda for this very busy session. TRS-Care funding, which impacts 260,000 retirees and dependents, is a top priority this year. Additionally, we are looking at opportunities for cost-of-living increases or supplemental payments to help put more money back into your pocketbook.

Work has begun already on our federal issues as well. Congressman Kevin Brady continues to be a strong advocate for repeal of the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP), and is in the process of filing legislation for this congressional cycle. TRTA will visit Washington, D.C. in February, meeting with your Congressmen about the WEP, as well as the Government Pension Offset (GPO).

This week, members of the TRTA State Legislative Committee begin coming to Austin to meet one-on-one with State Senators and Representatives and their staff, and will start hand-delivering your personal letters. Thank you for the thousands of members who have taken the time to share their experiences on paper. Your words matter! If you have not yet sent in your letter, you may download a template here.

Please mail your letters to: TRTA, Attn: TRS-Care, 313 E. 12th Street, Suite 200, Austin, TX 78701. If you are not sure who your Texas State Senator and Texas State Representative are, please visit this link and enter your address to find out who represents you.

Thank You

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!

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

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19 Jan 2017
0

TRTA Member Action Alert: Senate Finance Committee to Meet Tuesday!

Send an email to your Senator about the urgency of addressing TRS-Care today by clicking here!

As the 85th Legislative Session begins moving at breakneck speed, committees are already meeting and discussing issues vital to your retirement security! (See a list of all Senate Committees and their members by clicking here).

On Tuesday, January 24, the Senate Finance Committee will hear from the Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS) regarding their Legislative Appropriations Request (LAR) for fiscal years 2018 and 2019. Included in this request is funding for the financially burdened TRS-Care retiree health insurance program.

As part of the request submitted by TRS in August 2016, an exceptional item for retiree health funding in the amount of $1.35 billion above the standard 1% of aggregate active teacher payroll from the state is included.

“TRS-Care, the Retired Employees Group Insurance Program, historically receives state funding equal to 1.0% of active public school employee payroll per year. Our request includes funding for the 1.0% contribution and assumes covered payroll growth of 3.5% for the public education sector. Additionally, TRS is requesting an exceptional item in the amount of $1.35 billion to provide for fiscal solvency through the end of FY 2019.”

Earlier this week, the Senate filed its budget bill (read SB 1 in its entirety by clicking here). In the filed version of the bill, the exceptional item requested by TRS is not included.

Members, this is just the beginning of budget discussions that will go on for the next five months!

We need every Senator to be informed about the looming shortfall to TRS-Care! This issue is vital to the retirement security of nearly 260,000 public education retirees. If nothing is done this session to improve funding for TRS-Care, premiums could increase by 150%.

In this scenario, a retiree currently paying $300 per month may have to pay as much as $750 per month. A significant reduction in retirees’ benefits could make doctor visits unaffordable.

The Texas Senate must be informed that retiree’s pocketbooks cannot be solely responsible for keeping TRS-Care afloat. 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.

Be sure to send an email to your Senator today! Click here.

Public comment will be welcome at next week’s Senate Finance Committee meeting. If any members wish to attend, the meeting begins at 9:00 a.m. in Room E1.036 of the Texas Capitol. A live broadcast of the meeting should be available from this link once the meeting begins on Tuesday.

Thank You

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!

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

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11 Jan 2017
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85th Legislative Session Underway

The 85th Session of the Texas Legislature began yesterday, January 10, 2017. Members of the Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA) eagerly have awaited the opportunity to welcome returning and newly elected officials to the Texas Capitol, and are ready to work with all Senators and Representatives to protect public education retirees’ vital benefits.

Though session began yesterday, many bills were filed prior to the beginning of session, including some that pertain to the Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS) pension fund.

TRTA encourages its members to stay updated about filed legislation by using the resources found at the following links: www.capitol.state.tx.us or www.lrl.state.tx.us. You can search for bills you would like to track by using keywords, and even sign up for email alerts as bills progress through the stages of passage.

These sites can also be used to locate contact information for your elected officials. Click here to view the members of the Texas House of Representatives. Click here to view the members of the Texas Senate.

Earlier this week, Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar announced that $104.87 billion in state funds would be available as lawmakers craft the state budget for the next two-year cycle. The general revenue fund has decreased by 2.7 percent since the 84thLegislative Session held in 2015.

Members, this will be a tough session. We know we face many challenges when it comes to funding the TRS-Care retiree health insurance program.

We have many friends in the Texas Legislature, and we will work with all elected officials across the aisle to accomplish great things for our deserving public education retirees. What we accomplish as an organization cannot be done without our individual members’ dedication and perseverance!

Now is our opportunity to reach out to the Texas Legislature and work with them to find better options for TRS-Care. Without your input, this effort will be more challenging.

If you have not done so already, please write a letter to your Texas state legislatorsusing the template found on page 5 in the fourth quarter issue of The VOICE that arrived in your mailbox in December.

Or, download the template here!

Please mail your letters to:

TRTA

Attn: TRS-Care

313 E. 12th Street, Suite 200

Austin, TX 78701

If you are not sure who your Texas State Senator and Texas State Representative are, please visit this link and enter your address to find out who represents you on issues affecting your retirement benefits!

We have received hundreds of your letters already. Let’s see if we can receive thousands of letters at the TRTA office in Austin by January 20!

Our state legislative committee will begin meeting with Senators and Representatives by the end of the month, and they are excited to hand-deliver your personal notes to your elected officials. Nothing has a greater impact on your legislators than telling your story in your own words!

We want every legislator to receive a letter, in fact, multiple letters! Even if you think your Senator or Representative already has received several letters, send in another one.

Let them know that you want to be a part of the solution. Ask them for their help in ensuring that public education retirees have access to quality, affordable health care!

Additionally, communicate with your fellow friends and family members who are not TRTA members about the TRS-Care crisis. If you really want to help us grow TRTA membership, give your recent bulletin to a fellow retiree who is not a member. You can also take it to your former school, and ask the staff to leave the bulletin in a teacher common room. We must have the strongest voice possible to protect TRS and its vital retirement security programs.

Thank You

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!

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

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