Senate Recommendation Protects TRS-Care

 

Senator Finance Committee Restores Funds for TRS-Care and TRS Pension Fund

A proposal designed by Senator Robert Duncan (R-Lubbock) to protect TRS-Care participants from seeing a premium increase in the coming biennium, as well as restore over $100 million in funding for the TRS pension trust fund was adopted in the Texas Senate Finance Committee.

The budget proposal adopted in Senate Finance for TRS-Care will:

  • Fund TRS-Care in FY 2012 at 1 percent allowing TRS and the State to show a “maintenance of effort” in qualifying for additional federal health care dollars available through the retiree reinsurance program;
  • Fund TRS-Care in FY 2013 at 0.5 percent (the federal dollars are expected to be exhausted by that time);
  • Provide budget language that prohibits an increase in TRS-Care premiums for the coming biennium;
  • Sweep any excess budget dollars available through the annual “settle-up” from/to TRS in the budget process back to TRS-Care;
  • Provide for a study to be conducted in the interim that analyzes the TRS-Care program and offer suggestions on how to maintain efficiencies and implement new cost savings measures designed to protect the TRS-Care program;
  • This proposal adds $134 million back to TRS-Care funding for the biennium and ensures retirees that there will be NO premium increase in FY 2012 or FY 2013!

The budget proposal adopted in Senate Finance for the TRS pension trust fund will:

  • Provide for a state contribution to the TRS pension trust fund in FY 2012 at 6.0 percent;
  • Provide for a state contribution to the TRS pension trust fund in FY 2013 at 6.4 percent;
  • Temporarily suspends the requirement that the state contribution must be at least equal to, or greater than the active member contribution (only in FY 2012);
  • Maintains the active member contribution to the TRS pension trust fund for FY 2012 and FY 2013 at 6.4 percent;
  • This proposal will NOT make the fund actuarially sound, and it will NOT provide an increase to retirees, BUT it WILL restore over $100 million in pension trust fund contributions helping the system get to actuarial soundness sooner than later.

TRTA supports the Senate Finance Committee proposal. The Senate Finance Committee budget recommendation must still go to the full Senate for a vote. That will occur in the near future, but they have still not finished their overall proposal.

While this budget recommendation does not provide everything that TRTA is asking for to protect its members and address the issue of retiree loss-of-buying power, it does protect retirees from a huge increase in health care premiums that have been said to be as high as 80 percent.

The Texas House Budget proposal does much less to help TRS retirees and their plan would leave retirees susceptible to those massive TRS-Care premium increases. As this proposal is finalized, TRTA will launch an advocacy campaign asking the full Texas Senate to support this budget proposal for the TRS-Care program and the TRS pension trust fund.

TRTA will continue to update you on these issues as they develop. YOUR SUPPORT AND UNWAIVERING COMMITMENT TO WORKING ON THESE VITAL ISSUES HAS MADE AN IMPACT!

Thank you for your hard work and support!!!