Sen. Joan Huffman Pens Letter to Texas Retired Educators: “Committed to Protecting Your Pension”

Sen. Joan Huffman serves on the Texas Senate Finance Committee and served as Chair of the Texas Senate State Affairs Committee last session. Her work includes authoring Senate Bill 12 in 2019, which provided $1 billion in funding from the state into the Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS) pension fund. Today, she released a statement showing continued support for retirees through funding for the pension plan. Click the statement below to enlarge it.

On Twitter she said, “To all the @TRSofTexas retirees: I know that COVID-19 is causing lots of uncertainty, but rest assured that your TRS benefits are not changing due to the state of the markets, and your annuity payments are not at risk! See my statement below for details.”

“I want to reassure you that the Texas Legislature is continuously monitoring the TRS Pension Fund and its operations,” she said in her statement. “Let me be crystal clear: retiree benefits are not changing due to the state of the markets, and your annuity payments are not at risk.”

She goes on to say that she will continue to support the funding from the previous session, and that her goal is to “ensure that the pension fund remains stable for decades to come.”

Huffman’s statement comes in response to Scott Burns’ article in the Dallas Morning News. Burns’ article discusses the investment practices—and their benefits and downfalls—of the TRS pension fund.

The Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA) provided its response to Burns’ article here, and Tim Lee spoke about the article on Facebook Live with TRTA members and supporters on July 30.

TRTA and the Texas Legislature have worked diligently to provide meaningful, long-term and much-needed funding improvements to the TRS pension trust fund. TRTA supports these efforts as a way to ensure the fund’s long-term sustainability, and ultimately, to provide benefit increases to retirees.

TRTA will always work to protect your retirement security. We will also work with the TRS Board of Trustees to address member concerns like those raised by Burns’ article. Providing explantations and context to members on how the agency can address funding issues, including how they manage investment fees, assures TRS members their trust fund is being managed efficiently and effectively.

TRS takes its responsibility for providing retirees with a reliable monthly income very seriously, but the agency should explain its investment practices and how those choices ultimately impact its members’ bottom lines.

TRTA is extremely grateful to Sen. Huffman who has worked tirelessly on TRS issues. Her commitment to TRS and to communicating with TRTA members on these important matters is much appreciated. TRTA looks forward to working with Huffman on these issues in the coming session.

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