Pension Increase Bills in Committee; Action on TRS Pension Bills

Special Update on TRS Legislation–New! Updated Email Campaign, click here to send New Email!!

TRTA members have answered the call! Over 5,000 emails have been sent since yesterday. We do not know how many TRTA members have made phone calls, but we know that every office we visited today talked about the “nice and passionate” TRTA members calling in to support efforts on SB 1458 and HB 1884.

Your actions are so appreciated! We are a long way from the finish line, though, and we must keep up this pressure.

Every TRTA member that wants to help us make the pension fund actuarially sound this session needs to contact their legislators. Any TRTA member that would like to help their fellow retirees and themselves get a much needed pension benefit increase must also help send emails and make phone calls.

Some TRTA members have commented that this much effort should NOT be necessary to help our retirees. We agree! There are, however, many interests trying to minimize our agenda.

We want to cut through the noise that is constantly attacking TRS retirees and the TRS defined benefit plan. As we reported yesterday, some groups would rather do nothing simply to advance their agenda of worsening the TRS fund and pushing the idea of defined contribution plans.

Enough is enough! TRS retirees need help and we need it now. Please, if this issue is important to you or someone you know who is a TRS retiree, we need you to email and call your legislators.

TRTA is taking a lead role to work with legislators and active educator stakeholders. Together, we can make SB 1458 and HB 1884 the bills that improve TRS for generations to come.

These bills are expected to be heard in committee on Monday. We believe that TRTA members can generate over 10,000 emails by that meeting. We have posted a newly updated email campaign in this email.

Please click here to send your legislators an email about this vital issue.

In addition, please call your legislators on Monday and ask them to work with Senator Robert Duncan and Representative Bill Callegari to improve these bills. Retirees and active school employees are working together to protect TRS. We can make a difference if we work together.

TRTA Call Your Legislator Hotline: 1.888.674.3788

TRTA Email Campaign: Click Here!

Find out who represents you: Click Here!

Additional Legislative Action Set for Monday

A number of other bills will be heard in the House Pensions Committee on Monday afternoon. One of those bills, HB 103 by Representative Larry Gonzales, would authorize TRS retirees to receive a supplemental payment this year.

Representative Gonzales authored similar legislation last session and it passed out of the House with overwhelming support. Representative Gonzales championed this idea as a way to help the thousands of TRS retirees that have not received a benefit increase since the last supplemental payment in 2008.

No TRS retiree has seen a permanent cost of living raise since 2001, but the supplemental payment that was received in 2008 was equivalent to three-years worth of increases paid in one lump-sum (based on a one-time cost of living raise equal to 3 percent).

While this bill did not pass in the Senate last session, Representative Gonzales promised to reintroduce the bill and keep fighting for TRS retirees.

TRTA awarded Representative Larry Gonzales and Senator Robert Deuell (who carried a companion bill in the Senate) their “Legislation of the Year” award in 2011. These bills represent a creative way to help retirees while also protecting the overall value of the TRS fund by authorizing the supplemental payment only if the fund’s value exceeds 80 percent and if the system earned its expected investment return of 8 percent.

TRTA does support HB 103 and Representative Gonzales for his work on this issue. We are very grateful for Representative Gonzales and his steadfast support of doing all he can to help TRS retirees.

TRTA will also support the bills authored by our good friends Representative Alma Allen, Representative Armando “Mando” Martinez, and Representative Ana Hernandez Luna. These bills all address retirees receiving a pension increase.

Concluding Comments

Thank you for your hard work and dedication. We are making a difference for TRS retirees this session. We still have time to improve and pass these important bills.

Your TRTA membership is what allows us to advocate on your behalf. If you are not a member but want more information about joining in our efforts, please call us at 1.800.880.1650. The TRTA membership fee is $25 per year.