Legislated Animosity - Texas Teacher Retirement in Peril #trs #txlege

"Hit their retirement, rip 'em up good!"
Guys in white=teachers
State Legislators = Bull
Source: http://zakireza.files.wordpress.com/2011/08/running-of-the-bulls-05.jpg

Can you hear the Texas State Legislators saying that? I know I can every time I read updates from colleagues that threaten the teacher retirement system. The main points as a fellow educator put them:

A bill is set to go before the Senate State Affairs Committee for a vote. Chair Robert Duncan filed a bill to be heard today that will significantly alter the system. 
The bill sets the minimum retirement age at 62 (without penalty). Each year an employee would retire before age 62, a 5% penalty on benefits would take effect for each year. age 61, 5% penalty, age 60, 10% and so on. 
Read that again...we get penalized if we retire PRIOR to age 62. Huh? Teachers spend their life dealing with all sorts of garbage from legislators, trying to do their job in spite of mountains of paperwork, and then, slam, they get kicked in the teeth if they decide to retire before age 62? Sorry kids, I can't retire to help pay college, fund a life change, or whatever. The STATE GOVERNMENT--you know, the government that the Republicans promise to keep out of our lives as free citizens but are failing so miserably at--is getting involved. (that was obviously political, if you couldn't tell)
There is a grandfather clause attached. If you are age 50, or have 20 years of service, or have a rule of 70 (combined age and service), you would be grandfathered. A large population of employees would not meet the grandfather requirements. 
In fact, a recent study indicated that the TRS system is one of the most sound, viable until 2075. Need a review of some of the main points? Here they are:
  1. Over the past 25 years, the TRS trustfund has earned a return of approximately 8.6% despite a decade of highly volatile markets. The TRS assumed return rate is 8%.
  2. The Majority Of TRS Members Will Do Significantly Worse Investing On Their Own In A Plan With A Defined‐Contribution Component.
  3. 80% of TRS members, a figure that includes 95% of public school TRS members, do not participate in Social Security
There's a lot more not to like in Texas State Legislature and Government. Unfortunately, until we stop walking around talking big and VOTE THEM OUT! we will continue to face legislated animosity towards teachers.

“I think it’s an outrageous proposal,” Murphy said. “It’s not as if there was a pot of gold waiting under the rainbow for teachers even under the current scheme.” Source: Austin-American Statesman

Joe Smith: Outrageous! - April 24, 2013
I do not support the reduction of benefits of active teachers in order to give retired teachers a raise. This is wrong. All current TRS eligible employees should be grandfathered. The Texas Legislature cannot continue to renege on promises made to teachers, this is an unacceptable solution.





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