The Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA) is excited to wish all retired and active school personnel in Texas a “Happy New Year!” School is back in session for our active educators and students, and now is also the time that our 259 local units begin their fall meetings. If you have not renewed your TRTA state membership dues, now is the time! Please contact the TRTA state office to verify if your membership dues of $25 per year have been received (1.800.880.1650).

September provides great opportunities for learning, fellowship and preparation. If you are a member of a local unit, be sure to attend the first meeting of the year! If you are interested in becoming a member of a local unit and want to be a part of the grassroots legislative planning that units are ALREADY working on for the 84thLegislative Session, read more here: http://localunits.org/LocalUnitDirectory.

Many of our members anxiously are awaiting the arrival of their October check from the Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS). Nearly 200,000 TRS retirees will receive a 3% permanent cost-of-living increase (not to exceed $100 per month) beginning in October. For many folks, this is the first real raise they have received since 2001—that’s 12 long years!

This was all made possible by the passing of Senate Bill 1458 during the regular session of the 83rd Texas Legislature. The bill, known as the “TRS Actuarial Soundness Bill,” made several changes to the TRS pension fund which allowed it to meet the state law for financial solvency. This state law (statute 821.006) must be met in order for TRS to be able to provide permanent increases to any of its members.

While not all members of TRS were able to receive a financial boost this year, the bill establishes new sources of revenue and increases contributions to the pension fund, which will make future increases for more members of TRS very possible in the near future.

Our legislators in both the Texas Senate and House worked diligently to craft SB 1458 to protect TRS for the long-term. All voted in favor of the bill in its final version near the end of May 2013. Legislators and their staff members worked for months to achieve this goal, and we want to thank them for their hard work. Without SB 1458, the TRS pension fund would have shown a very large increase in its liabilities by January 2014. This would have created a scenario in which TRS retirees may have never received a COLA ever again.

TRTA is establishing strategies NOW to include ALL TRS retirees in future cost-of-living increases—perhaps even as early as 2015 (the next time the legislature is in regular session).

We need your help to make this happen! Our fight for better benefits for all retirees never ends. TRTA members must also be prepared to face potential changes to their healthcare benefits in the coming years.

It takes all of us working together to protect these vital benefit programs.

If you are not a member and want to join, please call 1.800.880.1650 to learn more!