May 1, 2023- Texas House gave a preliminary approval to a bill that would give retired teachers a raise in their monthly retirement checks. For some this could be their first cost-of-living improvement in 20 years.
Senate Bill 10, authored by state Sen. Joan Huffman, R-Houston. The lower chamber’s version of the bill seeks to give a 6% increase to retirees’ monthly checks if they retired before 2004, a 4% increase if they retired between 2004 and 2014, and a 2% increase if they retired between 2015 and 2021.
The Bill calls for a $5,000 one-time payment to retired teachers age 70 or older and states that annual cost-of-living increases should not exceed 2%, depending on whether the Teacher Retirement System met or surpassed its projected investment gains. It would also raise the portion of active teachers’ salaries that goes into the teachers’ retirement fund from 8% to 9%. The state would contribute a matching amount to the fund.
The Bill will need one more vote in the Texas House before lawmakers from both chambers gather to decide on a final version of the proposal.
To fund the cost-of-living increase, Texas voters would first need to vote on a amendment to the Texas Constitution to allow the state to move $1.9 Billion from general funds to the Teachers Retirement system. The measure will be in the ballot on Nov. 7th.
The main differences between the two chambers’ versions of the bill is that the Senate wants a $7,500 one-time payment for retirees age 75 and older, a 4% increase to their checks if they’ve been retired for more than 10 years and a 2% increase if they retired between late 2013 and before the end of 2021.
The last time retired teachers received a cost-of-living increase was in 2013, and it only applied to teachers who retired before August 2004. Teachers who retired after that have never received a raise and have been living on about $1,800 a month from their retirement checks. Over the last two legislative sessions, lawmakers gave retired teachers a one-time payment, commonly referred to as the “13th check.”