Governor To TRS: Cut the State’s Contribution The TRS Board this week received a number of reports regarding future funding requirements. Currently, the state is paying the constitutional minimum of 6% to TRS and employees are paying 6.4%. The Governor of Texas and the Legislative Budget Board told TRS to cut their Legislative Appropriation Request to 5.6%. That is below the minimum required by the constitution and would require a constitutional amendment.
The TRS Board will be asking for 7.19% contribution rate. The difference between the two rates which is approximately $1.3 billion will have to be included as an “exceptional items” request. All allocation will have to go to the pension fund if the 7.19% is not received so there would be no funding for the TRS-Care. TRS reported that if the state contributes 1% of public education payroll for retiree health care, no supplemental funding should be necessary before 2010. TSTA will be working hard to increase the state’s contribution to at least 7.19%.
Budgeting Guidelines Cause Concern for Education Retirees
July 20, 2006
TRTA Taking Action to Protect TRS and TRS-Care Funding
On Friday, July 14, 2006, at the Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS) Board of Trustees meeting, it was reported that TRS had received instructions from the Governor’s Office of Budget Planning and Policy (GOBPP) and from the Legislative Budget Board (LBB) directing TRS to limit their baseline request for general revenue-related funds to 90 percent of the amount expended in fiscal year 2006 and amounts budgeted for fiscal year 2007.
Quoting from a letter written by Ronnie Jung, TRS Executive Director, to the TRS Board of Trustees:
“Although public education funding, debt service requirements, and certain other programs were exempted from the 90 percent limitation, staff of both the GOBPP and the LBB have indicated that TRS is not exempt from the 90 percent limitation, even though the state constitution requires a 6 percent contribution rate for the Pension Fund contributions.
The impact of this requirement is that the TRS baseline appropriations request for the 2008-2009 Biennium will be limited to a state contribution rate of approximately 5.6 percent, and no baseline funding will be available for the retiree health care program, TRS-Care” (emphasis added by TRTA).
This is alarming news for anyone interested in the TRS pension trust fund and/or TRS-Care. TRTA representatives attending the TRS Board of Trustees meeting were gravely concerned over this new information. In addition, many TRS Trustees expressed their dismay over learning these stipulations being enforced by the GOBPP and the LBB. Certainly, there is just cause to alert all TRTA members (and all education retirees) of the impending difficulties that will be faced in the upcoming legislative session.
I can’t seem to find anything about this on the Governor’s website. All I’ve found is this:
Perry Seeks $18 Million for Teacher Health Plan Administrative Costs
Also Recommends Funds for Higher Education Research, Health Science Centers
AUSTIN – Gov. Rick Perry today asked the Legislative Budget Board (LBB) to provide up to $18 million from existing, available funds to pay the administrative costs of teachers’ health reimbursement accounts for Fiscal Year 2005.
“I am asking legislators to join me in responding quickly so teachers do not have excessive administrative fees deducted from their health care benefits,” Perry said.
I would think that funding the TRS is more indicative of the candidates for governor commitment to education than if and when to take the TAKS.