Member Effort to Secure Additional Co-Sponsors Has Major Impact

The House Pensions Committee this week heard a bill by Representative Charles Perry (Lubbock). HB 99 is a bill that requires the state to tie their base-level contributions to the Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS) to no less than what the federal government requires in contributions for the Social Security program.

This legislation has tremendous actuarial value for the TRS fund. In 1995, the Texas Legislature dropped its funding to TRS from 7.31% of the aggregate active teacher payroll to the constitutional minimum of 6%. At that time, the decrease in funding for TRS was said to be temporary, meant to last for only one biennium.

It was not until 2007 that the Legislature raised their contribution to the TRS fund. If the Legislature had at least contributed the same amount that the federal government requires private employers to make on behalf of their employees to Social Security (6.2%), TRS would have over $1 billion more in the trust fund today. In other words, that 0.2% difference has cost your TRS fund over $1 billion.

Worse than that, if the state had maintained a 7.31% funding level, the pension trust fund would have over $8 billion more today!

TRTA has long held the position that the state’s underfunding of the TRS pension fund is one of the main reasons that retirees have not had a real cost-of-living increase in 12 years and the system is not actuarially sound today.

The market losses in 2001, 2008, and 2009 also played a significant role in the unfunded liability; but so does state funding policy. 95% of Texas school employees do not participate in Social Security, and the state and school districts have saved billions of dollars over the years by not making contributions to the federal program.

The TRS pension fund is a tremendous value for the state, school districts, and all school employees and Texans. We should do all we can to improve the condition of the fund, and make it the best funded and protected pension program in the country.

Representative Charles Perry has taken a very positive step with HB 99. Representative Perry proactively met with TRTA before the session began about his concept of creating a funding level that should not be less than what is required by Social Security. While the state can, and should, put in higher contributions (up to 10% of the aggregate active teacher payroll per the Texas Constitution), this proactive approach would assure TRS participants and retirees that the state could not contribute the bare minimum.

TRTA agrees with Representative Perry. We believe this bill should be advanced this session!

More Co-Sponsors on HB 1383
It has only been one week since the TRTA Day at the Capitol, and the impact is still being felt in the Texas Capitol. Many legislators continue to comment on our members’ organization, positive attitude, knowledge of the issues, and passion for protecting and improving benefits for TRS retirees.

Before last Wednesday, there were just over 30 co-sponsors on Representative Jim Keffer’s bill HB 1383. This legislation calls on the Texas Legislature to increase funding for the TRS pension fund to 6.9% in FY 2014 and 7.4% in FY 2015. This legislation now has over 70 co-sponsors!

TRTA knows that many others will join us in the cause. Please review the list below and see if your legislator has joined as a co-sponsor on HB 1383. If so, send them a note of gratitude or call their office to thank them. Feel free to use the toll-free TRTA Legislator Hotline(1.888.674.3788). Please encourage your legislators to keep their focus on helping TRS get on a path to actuarial soundness this session.

If your legislator has not signed on to HB 1383, please call and ask them to support this important legislation. TRTA has a goal of 100 co-sponsors! We know it can happen! It will take a few minutes of your time, but let’s work together to send a strong message to the House that we can and should do more to fund TRS!

Representatives Who Already Support HB 1383

 

Jim Keffer 463-0656
Roberto Alonzo 463-0408
Donna Howard 463-0631
Susan King 463-0718
Bennett Ratliff 463-0468
Alma Allen 463-0744
Charles “Doc” Anderson 463-0135
Trent Ashby 463-0508
Dwayne Bohac 463-0727
Dennis Bonnen 463-0564
Greg Bonnen 463-0729
Cindy Burkett 463-0464
Lon Burnam 463-0740
Bill Callegari 463-0528
Angie Chen Button 463-0486
Travis Clardy 463-0592
Tony Dale 463-0696
Drew Darby 463-0331
John Davis 463-0734
Sarah Davis 463-0389
Marsha Farney 463-0309
Allen Fletcher 463-0661
Dan Flynn 463-0880
John Frullo 463-0676
Charlie Geren 463-0610
Larry Gonzales 463-0670
Lance Gooden 463-0458
Bobby Guerra 463-0578
Patricia Harless 463-0496
Linda Harper-Brown 463-0641
Abel Herrero 463-0462
Dan Huberty 463-0520
Bryan Hughes 463-0271
Jason Isaac 463-0647
Kyle Kacal 463-0412
Ken King 463-0736
Phil King 463-0738
Tracy King 463-0194
Lois Kolkhorst 463-0600
John Kuempel 463-0602
Lyle Larson 463-0646
George Lavender 463-0692
Tryon Lewis 463-0546
J.M. Lozano 463-0463
Eddie Lucio III 463-0606
Marisa Marquez 463-0638
Armando Martinez 463-0530
Ruth McClendon 463-0708
Jose Menendez 463-0634
Borris Miles 463-0518
Doug Miller 463-0325
Joe Moody 463-0728
Sergio Muñoz, Jr. 463-0704
Elliott Naishtat 463-0668
Poncho Nevarez 463-0566
Rene Oliveira 463-0640
John Otto 463-0570
Chris Paddie 463-0556
Diane Patrick 463-0624
Charles Perry 463-0542
Larry Phillips 463-0297
Joe Pickett 463-0596
Ron Reynolds 463-0494
Allan Ritter 463-0706
Kenneth Sheets 463-0244
JD Sheffield 463-0628
Ralph Sheffield 463-0630
David Simpson 463-0750
Wayne Smith 463-0733
Jonathan Stickland 463-0522
Ed Thompson 463-0707
Chris Turner 463-0574
Jason Villalba 463-0576
Hubert Vo 463-0568
James White 463-0490
Gene Wu 463-0492
John Zerwas 463-0657

Representatives Who Have Not Yet Co-Sponsored HB 1383!  We Need Their Support!

 

 

Carol Alvarado 463-0732
Rafael Anchia 463-0746
Jimmie Don Aycock 463-0684
Cecil Bell, Jr. 463-0650
Dan Branch 463-0367
Terry Canales 463-0426
Giovanni Capriglione 463-0690
Stefani Carter 463-0454
Garnet Coleman 463-0524
Nicole Collier 463-0716
Byron Cook 463-0730
Philip Cortez 463-0269
Tom Craddick 463-0500
Brandon Creighton 463-0726
Myra Crownover 463-0582
Yvonne Davis 463-0598
Joe Deshotel 463-0662
Dawna Dukes 463-0506
Harold Dutton 463-0510
Craig Eiland 463-0502
Gary Elkins 463-0722
Patrick Fallon 463-0694
Joe Farias 463-0714
Jessica Farrar 463-0620
James Frank 463-0534
Helen Giddings 463-0953
Craig Goldman 463-0608
Mary Edna Gonzalez 463-0613
Naomi Gonzalez 463-0622
Ryan Guillen 463-0416
Roland Gutierrez 463-0452
Ana Hernandez Luna 463-0614
Harvey Hilderbran 463-0536
Todd Hunter 463-0672
Eric Johnson 463-0586
Tim Kleinschmidt 463-0682
Stephanie Klick 463-0599
Matthew Krause 463-0562
Jodie Laubenberg 463-0186
Jeff Leach 463-0544
Oscar Longoria 463-0645
Trey Martinez Fischer 463-0616
Rick Miller 463-0710
Geanie Morrison 463-0456
Jim Murphy 463-0514
Rob Orr 463-0538
Tan Parker 463-0688
Richard Peña Raymond 463-0558
Mary Ann Perez 463-0460
Jim Pitts 463-0516
Four Price 463-0470
John Raney 463-0698
Debbie Riddle 463-0572
Eddie Rodriguez 463-0674
Justin Rodriguez 463-0669
Toni Rose 463-0664
Scott Sanford 463-0356
Matt Schaefer 463-0584
Ron Simmons 463-0478
John Smithee 463-0702
Drew Springer 463-0526
Phil Stephenson 463-0604
Mark Strama 463-0821
Joe Straus 463-1000
Van Taylor 463-0594
Senfronia Thompson 463-0720
Steven Toth 463-0797
Scott Turner 463-0484
Sylvester Turner 463-0554
Mike Villarreal 463-0532
Armando Walle 463-0924
Paul Workman 463-0652
Bill Zedler 463-0374

Thank you for being a member of TRTA and a valuable asset to our statewide grassroots team! If you are not a member and would like to join, please call us at 1.800.880.1650.