Increased School Aid Wins Overwhelming Vote in Texas House; Senate Names Budget Team; TRS Board Elections

Increased School Aid Wins Overwhelming Vote in Texas House:  The big school-finance bill of the 2017 session,  HB 21 by Rep. Dan Huberty (R-Houston), was approved by an overwhelming margin of 134 to 16 Wednesday night after hours of debate on amendments but with no major changes. Texas AFT supported the bill, which would provide […]

House Proposal on Retiree Health Care is an Improvement, But More is Needed

Texas AFT testified Monday on a newly unveiled House proposal to address the funding shortfall for TRS-Care, the state program affording health coverage to retired school employees. HB 3976 by Rep. Trent Ashby (R-Lufkin) is a considerable improvement over the Senate plan in SB 788 by Sen. Joan Huffman (R-Houston). Under HB 3976 the deductible […]

Coming Up in the Texas Legislature the Week of April 10

Now that the House has passed its own version of the state budget in place of the Senate’s in SB 1, time-honored ritual requires the Senate to reject the House effort, triggering appointment of a conference committee to iron out the differences. Though news reports have emphasized differences between the two versions that are many […]

State House and Senate Differ Markedly on Budget for Schools

The Texas Senate Finance Committee on Wednesday approved a draft 2018-19 budget (SB 1) that would let per-pupil funding for public schools stagnate, keeping the basic allotment for all districts at the same level as in 2016. Under the Senate plan, the state would actually reduce the amount of state general revenue for schools substantially, […]

Legislative Wrap-Up for March 17

Controversial Pick for Pension Board Faces Texas Senate Opposition: Serious opposition has developed in the Texas Senate to the appointment of Josh McGee to serve as chair of the State Pension Review Board. McGee is a prominent critic of state-guaranteed pension benefits and is employed by a foundation in Houston that has led attacks on […]

Committee Vote Coming Up on Fox in the Pension Henhouse; School Finance and Property Tax News

Committee Vote Coming Up on Fox in the Pension Henhouse: The Senate Nominations Committee is due to act March 16 on a State Pension Review Board appointee known for his criticism of guaranteed pension benefits. Josh McGee, Gov. Greg Abbott’s choice to chair the Review Board, is a functionary of the Houston-based Arnold Foundation that […]

Texas AFT Recommends Charleston in TRS Trustee Election

The 2017 TRS trustee nomination election is under way from now until May 5. The Texas AFT executive council has endorsed the reappointment of Karen Charleston for a seat on the Teacher Retirement System of Texas board of trustees. Charleston has served as a TRS trustee since 2011, when she was appointed to what was […]

Remove the Fox from the Pension Henhouse!

Send your letter now telling your senator to vote “No” on putting a fox in the pension henhouse! Houston-based hedge-fund billionaire and former Enron trader John Arnold for years has mounted an attack on public pensions providing guaranteed lifetime benefits that you cannot outlive—pension plans like your Texas Teacher Retirement System. Arnold’s attacks have been […]

State Commitment to Health-Care Funding Debated

A state Joint Committee on TRS Health Benefit Plans has issued a report suggesting no new state funding to cover the rising costs of health care for active and retired school employees. The effect would be to accelerate the erosion of the state’s commitment to health-care affordability for both active employees and retirees. This report […]

TRS-Care Update

Retirees, take heed. As we reported previously in the Hotline, the Teacher Retirement System of Texas trustees adopted changes to the TRS-Care health program at their June 2016 meeting. While premiums for retiree care have been left unchanged at the Legislature’s urging, there are other changes you need to bear in mind, and not all […]