Thursday, May 9, 2013

New proposal by ledge protects TDCJ retirement for current employees

By Doug Glass, Backgate Website

A house bill designed to change retirement requirements for thousands of TDCJ employees among others has been altered to exclude current employees. The previous bill would require many current employees to work until age 62. Below us an excerpt explaining the bill in detail courtesy of the TPEA.

Representative Callegari will offer a floor amendment which grandfathers all current state employees from being subject to any of the eligibility changes that were outlined in the original bill. This amendment would also include employees whose retirement benefits are under the LECOS program. Furthermore, it establishes the new provisions effective only for employees hired after 9/1/2013. His amendment increases employee contributions to 7.5% (8% for employees under LECOS) in each year of the biennium, and requires 0.5% of each agency’s payroll go towards shoring up the fund in addition to other potential funding changes. This amendment represents a significant improvement, because the bill as it came out of committee would penalize many state employees who had planned to retire before the age of 62. Representative Callegari needs your help telling his legislative colleagues that you are in support of his amendments to HB 1882.

Please click here to find your Texas State House Representative and call or email them to tell them, “I am a state employee (or retiree) and I would appreciate your support for the amendments to HB 1882 by Representative Callegari that would apply any new pension eligibility requirement to new employees.”*

The Callegari amendment is consistent with TPEA’s proposed alternative, and we are supporting its adoption. The state contribution rate is not included in his amendment because it will be determined in the state budget currently being debated in the budget conference committee. We believe the Senate will take up action as soon as the bill is passed by the House. Although these developments are positive and will significantly help to address the unfunded liabilities, they will not be adequate to provide sufficient funding for a 13th check or a COLA for current retirees. However, the increased revenues significantly improve the prospects for a future annuity adjustment.

It is very important that your communication is respectful and professional. Representative Callegari has worked closely with TPEA and other groups to find solutions to these issues and to preserve the retirement program for current and future state employees. Any adversarial communication is unproductive and unwarranted.

Once again, click here to identify your Texas State House Representative and communicate with them now in support of the Callegari Amendments to HB 1882.


  1. FYI this amendment or proposal was not TPEA's. On April 25, 2013 Rep Callegari called all public employee's unions and groups to a meeting held at the Capitol AG Museum. In this meeting AFSCME lobbyist Dee Simpson proposed an increases in matching LECOS funds as high as 2% and to seperate the LECOS ERS accounts from ERS due to other groups oppositions to a increase in contributions. The AFSCME contribution rate increase plan would not see any sizable age increase above 52 years old and would go as high as 2% to make the fund actuarially sound. No compromise was made that day.

    On May 7th after no favorable amendment was offered, AFSCME, AFL-CIO, and Texas State Employees Union went to work to kill Callegari's bill that would have increased the retirement age to 62 for ERS and 57 for LECOS. Late that afternoon Rep Callegari receives calls from other Representives informating him his bill was in trouble. Rep Callegari seeing the bill does not have the support offers a favorable amendment, without Senate assurances. Several groups jump on supporting the bill's amendment, even though it can easily be changed back in the Senate by stripping the bill's amendment. AFSCME and TSEU hold off until there is Senate assurances that no age increase will occur.

    Assurances are made 24 hours too late after the House Democratic Caucas and East Texas Republicans have the bill blocked. The bill is heard late Thursday night in second reading and dies at midnight due to not enough time. Thanks to AFSCME and TSEU it is clear there is House Support to block a bill increasing the retirement age. There is another vehicle to deliver the retirement amendment in the Senate which is SB 1459.

    TPEA jumped to soon to a favorable amendment that could have easily thrown state employees retirement under the bus without Senate assurances. Between the SB 1459 being a carrier of a possible favorable amendment and a Special Session most likely being called, there is still plenty of time to not make risky moves.

  2. This will help your staffing problems NOT...... Wow what a Joke