TPEA will continue its focus on strengthening the retirement fund, preserving affordable health benefits for state employees and retirees, and supporting fair and equitable state employee compensation. However, TPEA must be pragmatic about the upcoming legislative session given the downturn in the economy, and the resultant revenue shortfall.
SEEK ADDITIONAL PENSION FUNDING
There is a compelling need to significantly improve the actuarial condition of the ERS fund for our members to have retirement security. The ERS actuary said that the current financial outlook for ERS is extremely poor. The ERS fund is at risk of running out of money within decades, putting pension payments in jeopardy. The downward curve in funding status, assets vs. liabilities, must be flattened. It is critical that either additional monies be directed toward the fund or a plan toward actuarial soundness is adopted. TPEA will support ERS in its efforts to return the retirement fund to actuarial soundness.PRESERVING AFFORDABLE HEALTH CARE BENEFITS
There may not be a benefit more important to employee retention and retiree personal solvency than the ERS health plan. The ERS health plans have proven adequate to meet the medical needs of employees, retirees, and their dependents. TPEA will support ERS’ appropriation request to fund the ERS health plans.
STATE EMPLOYEE SALARIES
Since the 2010-2011 biennium, the Texas legislature has given targeted pay raises - raises that affect a small, defined subset of state employees - to improve retention in certain high-turnover positions and to maintain a competitive salary relationship between state agency positions and similar positions in a relevant labor market. As state revenues allow, TPEA will work with the Legislature to reduce state agency turnover and support salary increases for state employees.