TRTA Action Alert
TRTA Members Urged to Call House Members
The Texas House will take up a “fiscal matters” bill today. HB 3639 is used to make state policy copacetic with the House version of the Texas budget. One of the provisions in this legislation, however, suggests a permanent DECREASE in state funding for the TRS-Care health insurance program.
As you know, the current state contribution required by Texas statute is 1 percent of the aggregate active teacher payroll. The Texas House passed a budget reducing the TRS-Care contribution to .5 percent of the aggregate active teacher payroll.
While TRTA is still working to restore the funding to TRS-Care in the Texas Senate, the House is now voting on the language to make statute in compliance with their budget. HB 3639 is written with language that would permanently change the TRS-Care contribution from 1 percent to .5 percent.
TRTA does not support the reduction of TRS-Care funding from 1 percent to .5 percent. While this position is unchanged, we also must make clear that a permanent reduction in state obligation to this vital health insurance program must NOT be instituted.
State Representative Lance Gooden (R-Terrell) is working to resolve this situation. He is offering an amendment to HB 3639 that will make this reduced state contribution to TRS-Care a TEMPORARY, one biennium change. Representative Gooden is a member of the House Appropriations Committee and knows the hardships that retirees are currently facing due to no cost of living increases in 10 years.
TRTA has been informed that State Representative Mike Villarreal (D-San Antonio) also is working on an amendment to resolve the TRS-Care funding issue. Representative Villarreal is a long-time supporter of public education retirees and a member of the House Appropriations Committee.
Representatives Gooden and Villarreal are working with TRTA to ensure this situation is not used to create a new, permanent funding requirement for TRS-Care.
TRTA members are encouraged to call their legislators using the TRTA “Call Your Legislator Hotline” (1-888-674-3788) and ask them to “support the Gooden and Villarreal amendments on HB 3639 to protect TRS health care” (sorry, there are no bill numbers for amendments to HB 3639). If you are not sure who your state representative is, please click here(http://www.fyi.legis.state.tx.us).
In addition, please send an email in support of the Gooden and Villarreal Amendments by clicking here.
Thank you for your help! We will keep you posted. This is a busy week with floor action in the House and budget work in the Senate. This may not be the last “Action Alert” this week. Your contributions are appreciated more than we can say.