FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 21, 2023
CONTACT: Nicole Hill, 512-317-2232, firstname.lastname@example.org
MONDAY, April 24 at the Texas Capitol
After two decades without a raise, retirees say they’re not ready to settle for the crumbs of Texas’ historic state budget.
AUSTIN, Texas — Any educator who’s retired in Texas since September 2004 is living on the same pension amount today that they were 19 years ago. With an extraordinary state budget surplus up for grabs and multiple bills moving through the Legislature, those retirees are telling lawmakers that something has to give.
On Monday, the Texas American Federation of Teachers’ Retiree Plus chapter will bring retired educators to Austin to demand a significant pension adjustment that could combat record-setting inflation, which has significantly reduced the purchasing power of their pensions.
Retirees will start their day of advocacy with a press conference at the Capitol and then visit their legislators’ offices for personal conversations.
Since the group’s formation, Texas AFT Retiree Plus has been advocating at the Texas Legislature for a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for their pensions. No educator who has retired since September 2004 has ever seen an increase to their monthly pension check from the Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS). Those who retired before September 2004 have received exactly one: a 3% COLA in 2013.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the prices of consumer goods have increased by more than 50% since September 2004.
Multiple COLA bills were filed in the 88th Legislature, and both chambers have given some version of a COLA their blessing. The Senate has already approved its COLA plan (SB 10), and the House could take up its version (SB 10/HB 600) any day.
Neither, however, would go far enough to provide retired educators with the significant relief they need. The maximum pension increase under either plan would be 6%. More recent retirees would receive just a 2% bump. Meanwhile, in the past two years alone, consumer prices have increased by 13.9%
“At a time when the state has a historically high budget surplus, we should not be struggling and sacrificing just to make ends meet,” said Rita Runnels, chair of Texas AFT Retiree Plus. “At a time when educators are experiencing historically high levels of inflation, we need a COLA big enough to make a difference.”
Several legislators will join retired educators for the morning press conference. More will hear directly from them in afternoon meetings.
Texas AFT is hosting a press conference with retired educators to call for real action on a cost-of-living adjustment for TRS pensions.
When & Where:
Monday, April 24
10-10:30 a.m. CT
House Press Room (2W.6)
1100 Congress Ave.,
Austin, TX 78701
The press conference will also be livestreamed on the Texas House website.
- Rita Runnels, chair of Texas AFT Retiree Plus
- Ray McMurrey, Texas AFT secretary-treasurer
- State Rep. John Bryant
- State Rep. Mihaela Plesa
- Participants from Texas AFT Retiree Plus
The Texas American Federation of Teachers represents 66,000 teachers, paraprofessionals, support personnel, and higher-education employees across the state. Texas AFT is affiliated with the 1.7-million-member American Federation of Teachers and the AFL-CIO.