Senate Budget Hearing on TRS set for Thursday

TRTA Members Called to Action (TRTA Action Email Provided Below)

The Texas Senate Finance Committee will hear public testimony on budget requests for the Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS) tomorrow (Thursday, January 24, 2013). The meeting is one of the first steps in the legislative process, and provides the Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA) with an opportunity to promote our members’ interests.

TRTA will use this opportunity to express our appreciation to the Texas Senate for increasing its budget commitment to TRS for the coming biennium. The Senate version of the budget is already a major improvement from the previous legislative budget, which cut TRS pension fund and health care contributions. TRTA members made a strong case during the interim to have a baseline budget that was higher than last session’s, and the Legislature responded proactively with the current budget proposal.

While this is a significant improvement over last biennium, TRTA will also impress upon the Senate Finance Committee the need to do more. TRTA will ask the Senate Finance Committee to:

  • Increase TRS funding to ensure the long-term solvency of the pension trust fund;
  • Take immediate funding action to help make the TRS pension fund actuarially sound as quickly as possible;
  • Increase TRS pension fund contributions to 6.9 percent of the aggregate teacher payroll in FY 2014 and 7.4 percent in FY 2015;
  • Consider some type of benefit increase for retirees who are in the most desperate need;
  • Develop a plan to ensure the pension trust fund is actuarially sound and is able to provide a true cost-of-living increase for TRS retirees as soon as possible;
  • Take immediate funding action to ensure the long-term sustainability of the TRS-Care health insurance fund;
  • Ensure that existing TRS-Care participants do not have premium increases or drastic changes in their health care benefits; and,
  • Take any funding action necessary to relieve the financial pressure that the TRS-Care program is now facing.

The legislative session is just now getting underway, but TRTA has made numerous legislative visits already. We are hearing a lot of support for the TRS pension fund, its benefit structure, the value it represents for its members and all Texans, and a true desire to help TRS retirees.

TRTA members can help push our agenda forward in the Senate by sending an email to their Senators asking them to support the TRTA legislative agenda. Your Senator does not have to be on the Senate Finance Committee to hear our message!

Click Here to send an email to your Senator asking for their support on the TRTA legislative agenda.

Many of you have sent emails in the past. The TRTA email system generates an automatic message featuring our key points on the topic. Our system also allows members to include any additional comments or suggestions. The TRTA email system delivers emails directly to your Senator or Representative, even if you do not know who that is!

This is the first mass email message our TRTA members will have an opportunity to send this session. Let’s make a strong first impression and send a loud and clear message to the Texas Senate that we appreciate what they have done so far, but retirees are asking them to do more.

TRTA is recognized by the Legislature for having one of the most active, organized, and professional legislative programs in the state. We know you are ready to carry on that tradition. Now is the start of a very active and productive legislative session!

TRTA will provide a complete update on tomorrow’s hearing after it adjourns.

Thank you for your involvement and support. TRTA members are the best advocates in Texas. If you are not a member and want more information on how to join, please contact us at 1.800.880.1650.