As the 85th Legislative Session begins moving at breakneck speed, committees are already meeting and discussing issues vital to your retirement security! (See a list of all Senate Committees and their members by clicking here).
On Tuesday, January 24, the Senate Finance Committee will hear from the Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS) regarding their Legislative Appropriations Request (LAR) for fiscal years 2018 and 2019. Included in this request is funding for the financially burdened TRS-Care retiree health insurance program.
As part of the request submitted by TRS in August 2016, an exceptional item for retiree health funding in the amount of $1.35 billion above the standard 1% of aggregate active teacher payroll from the state is included.
“TRS-Care, the Retired Employees Group Insurance Program, historically receives state funding equal to 1.0% of active public school employee payroll per year. Our request includes funding for the 1.0% contribution and assumes covered payroll growth of 3.5% for the public education sector. Additionally, TRS is requesting an exceptional item in the amount of $1.35 billion to provide for fiscal solvency through the end of FY 2019.”
Earlier this week, the Senate filed its budget bill (read SB 1 in its entirety by clicking here). In the filed version of the bill, the exceptional item requested by TRS is not included.
Members, this is just the beginning of budget discussions that will go on for the next five months!
We need every Senator to be informed about the looming shortfall to TRS-Care! This issue is vital to the retirement security of nearly 260,000 public education retirees. If nothing is done this session to improve funding for TRS-Care, premiums could increase by 150%.
In this scenario, a retiree currently paying $300 per month may have to pay as much as $750 per month. A significant reduction in retirees’ benefits could make doctor visits unaffordable.
The Texas Senate must be informed that retiree’s pocketbooks cannot be solely responsible for keeping TRS-Care afloat. We can solve the TRS-Care crisis, but it will take all of us working together! TRTA is prepared to be your voice in these vital discussions.
Public comment will be welcome at next week’s Senate Finance Committee meeting. If any members wish to attend, the meeting begins at 9:00 a.m. in Room E1.036 of the Texas Capitol. A live broadcast of the meeting should be available from this link once the meeting begins on Tuesday.
Thank you for your membership to TRTA. If you are not yet a member, we need you to help us protect your retirement security. Please join TRTA today!