This year’s legislative sessions have been a whirlwind for NPPC’s coalitions across the country. Our coalitions have done some great work by ensuring the protection of public employees’ pensions and making sure retirees can keep up with the cost of inflation by pushing for cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs). The Texas Pension Coalition (TPC) worked hard for retired teachers in Texas to receive a “13th check.”
Last week, Texas lawmakers passed SB 12, which will provide a “13th check” of up to $2,000 for retired teachers. The bill passed unanimously in the Senate 31-0 and 145-1 in the House. Although not considered a true COLA, a “13th check” provides retirees with a boost, so they can keep up with rising cost of expenses, such as inflation on groceries and medication. It has been nearly a decade since retired teachers have seen any sort of COLA in Texas, so this legislation was very much needed.
SB12 also increases the amount the state will contribute to the Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRST), which will help shore up the pension fund. Under the new legislation, the state’s contribution will increase from 6.6% to 8.25% of employee pay by 2023. Employee contributions will also increase from 7.7% to 8.25% by 2023 and school districts will kick in some more with an increase from 1.5% to 2%.
With these increased contributions, TRST can now expect 100% funding of their system within a 29-year period, which is much better than their previous estimates of 87 years.
This is not the first state legislature to provide a COLA or a “13th check” to retired public employees this year. Last month, the New Hampshire state legislature voted and passed a bill that would provide retired public employees a 1.5 percent COLA. Many other states attempted to pass similar legislation this year, including Wyoming, Kansas, and Oklahoma.
For more updates on what each of our coalitions are doing in their states, be sure to follow NPPC on Facebook and on Twitter. Also, you can see the states NPPC has coalitions in by visiting our website at protectpensions.org.