TSEU Legislative Agenda 2017-2018
for more information, please contact TSEU Political Director Harrison Hiner in the Austin TSEU office (512.448.4225)
TSEU’s retirement agenda
Fully fund ERS’s request for $89 million above its baseline budget to make the pension fund actuarially sound
Allocate additional funding to allow ERS and TRS retirees to receive a COLA
Include Juvenile Justice Correctional Officers and Case Managers into LECOSRF
State Retirees need a Pension Increase
State retirees in ERS and TRS are in need of a long overdue increase in their pension annuities. Unlike most TRS retirees, state retirees in the ERS system have not received a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) in their monthly annuities since 2001. This has put many of the 96,000 state agency retirees in the dire situation of choosing between paying for food or paying for health care and prescriptions. The average ERS retiree receives just $1,579 per month in return for their years of dedication to public service.
According to state law, public pension funds must be considered “actuarially sound” before paying out a pension increase. In the 2015 legislative session, lawmakers passed House Bill 9 which increased both the employees’ and the state’s contributions to 9.5% along with a .5% contribution from state agencies. The passage of House Bill 9 has set ERS on a path to actuarial soundness and is a big step in the right directions. Unfortunately, at the current funding levels it will take years before the ERS fund is fully sound and able to pay out a COLA. Additional funding will be necessary to cover any pension increase for retirees.
Include Juvenile Justice Employees in LECORSF
ERS’s “Law Enforcement and Custodial Officers Supplemental Retirement Fund (LECOSRF)” was designed for state employees who deal with offenders on a daily basis. It allows staff in positions with a high rate of injury to retire after 20 years of service as long as they are over the age of 57.
JCO’s and Case Managers in the Texas Juvenile Justice Department work in a dangerous environment with the highest injury rate of all state agencies and one of the highest turnover rates. They need to be included to help reduce turnover and shorten the amount of time employees have to work in such a dangerous environment. Many TJJD staff get seriously injured before they can meet the rule of 80 and retire through the current system. They need a 20-year retirement plan for the stress and risk they have to endure working in TJJD.