TRS Board of Trustees Meets, Receives Actuarial Update

The Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS) Board of Trustees met December 7 – 8. The Board was presented the 2021 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report detailing the financial health of the pension fund. The meeting highlighted the pension fund’s continued growth. The trust fund closed FY 2021 with a 1-year return of 24.9% and assets of more than $200 billion.

This positive return results in a funding period (the time needed to pay off the system’s benefit liabilities) to 23 years, the lowest it has been since 2001. State law indicates that the Legislature may only give a benefit enhancement if the period is below 31 years. This is positive movement in the Texas Retired Teachers Association’s (TRTA) drive to obtain a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for retirees during the next legislative session.

What Happened: TRS reports that the pension fund and its investments continue to perform well. The gains made in the markets this fiscal year have advanced TRS objectives by at least three years, as well as yielding more than $20 billion in deferred gains that will be recognized over the next several years. These gains could be applied in any number of ways. They offer a buffer against future market volatility or declines.

TRTA members would like to see these additional gains be used to provide retired educators with a meaningful cost-of-living adjustment (COLA). TRTA’s President Leroy DeHaven provided public comment at the meeting. He said that two studies are needed for the Texas Legislature and their future work on a COLA.

One study would examine the impact of inflation on retirees. The second study would provide insight on the positive economic impact a COLA to TRS members would have on the Texas economy. Read DeHaven’s full statement here. The TRS Board acknowledged DeHaven’s comments with appreciation. TRTA will continue to keep members informed as we work with elected leaders, TRS, and other stakeholders on progressing on these studies before the next legislative session.

What Happens Next: TRTA and many elected officials firmly believe that a COLA can and should be delivered to retired educators at the next possible opportunity.

As President DeHaven said to the TRS Board earlier today, “Let’s be clear, the Texas Legislature has made TRS and TRS members, both retired and active, a major state priority. We would be in much worse shape without the support of our elected leaders on issues such as improved funding for TRS, previously mentioned supplemental payments, and a focus on funding our TRS-Care plan. It appears, though, to many retirees, that inflation is moving even faster and causing more damage than previously known. We need to know more. TRTA is ready to work with the Legislature, TRS, and other stakeholders to make this overview possible before the next regular legislative session.”

The Legislature convenes again for regular session in January 2023. This will likely be the next best opportunity to push for a COLA.

Reminder: Facebook Friday with Tim Lee to Discuss WEP Reform

TRTA’s Executive Director, Tim Lee, will discuss the latest news and updates live on Facebook and YouTube Friday, December 10 at 9:30 a.m. Central. You may view this live event on TRTA’s Facebook page and YouTube channel! You do not need to have an account with either service to view the video.

Lee will discuss news about Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) reform.

Thank You!

TRTA is the only group that focuses solely on your TRS retirement security! Please join us today!

Thank you for being a member of TRTA and supporting issues that affect retired Texas public school personnel. Be sure to download the TRTA app to receive all of the latest updates and communicate with your fellow retirees.

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