The Senate Finance Committee met today, March 22, to finalize Senate Bill 1 (SB1). SB1 will determine the State’s general appropriations for the upcoming biennium. The Senate Finance Committee voted unanimously, 15-0, to approve SB1 and send it to the Senate floor. Senator Jane Nelson, (R-Flower Mound) announced that SB1 will be presented to the full Senate for a vote next Tuesday, March 28.
SB1 includes $311 million for TRS-Care. The funding is a product of savings from other programs identified by the Senate Finance Workgroup on health care costs. The $311 million is enough to cover an increase in the state contribution to TRS-Care. The increase would take the state’s TRS-Care funding from 1 percent of active educator payroll to 1.25 percent. The proposed funding also would provide a small amount to help with the $1 billion TRS-Care budget shortfall. The $311 million is contingent on the passage of Senate Bill 788 by Senator Joan Huffman (R-Houston), which makes structural changes TRS-Care.
The House’s version of the budget remains in committee and is included in two bills, HB1, the general appropriations bill, and HB2, the supplemental appropriations bill. HB 2 currently contains a $500 million dollar appropriation that is contingent on a vote to access the money in the Economic Stabilization Fund (ESF). Accessing the ESF requires a 60 percent vote from both of the Legislature’s houses.
NOW is the critical time to get involved. The Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA) is holding its Day at the Capitol on March 29. Get all the details about the event here! Please come if you’re able. Your presence will make a BIG difference.
If you are unable to attend the Day at the Capitol, show your support on March 29 by posting to your legislators’ Facebook and Twitter pages. Encourage your legislators to increase the state funding for TRS-Care, and thank them for their work this session! You can even invite your legislators to attend Day at the Capitol!
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 read our comprehensive Frequently Asked Questions about TRS-Care here.