Committees Consider Major Changes to TRS Pension and TRS Care
On Monday, the Senate State Affairs and House Pensions Committee heard testimony on significant proposed changes to TRS in SB 1458 by Sen. Duncan and HB 1884 by Rep. Callegari. While laying out the committee substitute, Sen. Duncan noted the importance of keeping the current defined benefit structure in place, ensuring the system is actuarially sound, and the need to give retirees a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA). Highlights of the committee substitute include the following proposed changes:
- Pension Benefit – Rule of 80 would still apply, but creates a minimum retirement age of 62 without a reduction (5% reduction per year prior to age 62). Provides a grandfather clause of August 31, 2014: age 50; Rule of 70; or 25 years of service.
- Beginning in FY 2015, school districts would be required to pay 1 percent of minimum salary schedule on any TRS participating employee for whom the district is not contributing to Social Security.
- Provide a 3 percent COLA for retirees who have been retired for 20 years or more, but only once the system is actuarially sound. The COLA increase could not exceed $100 month.
- TRS-Care – Rule of 80 with a minimum retirement age of 62 to qualify for TRS-Care II or III. Provides a grandfather clause of August 31, 2014: Rule of 70 or 25 years of service.
- Provides the employee contribution to rate to be at least 6.4 percent but not to exceed the state contribution rate of 6.9 percent.
Both chairmen acknowledged concerns from various stakeholder groups on the financial impact to school districts, employees, and the creation of a new minimum retirement age of 62 for TRS pension and TRS-Care benefits. We anticipate additional discussions on this topic.
Immediate Action Needed!
Senate Education Committee and House Ways & Means Committee to Hear Voucher Bills Today
Contact members of these committees and urge them to oppose these bills that divert public money from public schools - either directly as voucher programs or indirectly via tax credits! Senate Education meets today at 8:30 a.m. and the House Ways & Means Committee meets at 2 p.m. or upon final adjournment of the full House. Read more.
Lengthy Agenda for Today's House Public Education Hearing
The House Committee on Public Education has another lengthy agenda scheduled for today's public hearing, with 21 bills currently slated to be heard. Bills of interest include HB 2824 (Ratliff ) relating to the Texas High Performance Schools Consortium, and HB 2983 (Dutton), relating to the reauthorization of the Texas Education Agency.
Please Note: The hearing will begin upon final adjournment/recess of the House in Room E2.036, rather than the standard 2 p.m. or upon adjournment. Not knowing the House calendar for that day, it is impossible to predict the exact starting time for the committee meeting. Public testimony will be limited to three minutes per person.
See the complete agenda. Watch the hearing live.
Senate Education Committee Adds Several Bills to Today's Agenda
The Senate Education Committee will meet at 8:30 a.m. in room E1.028 to take up several new and pending bills. Three additional bills have been added to the schedule since the original posting. Public testimony will be limited to 2 minutes per person. Watch the Senate Education hearing live.