HOUSTON – Retired educators could soon see an increase in their monthly retirement checks if voters pass Proposition 9.
If approved, it will allow state lawmakers to use the state’s surplus to fund the cost-of-living arrangement.
“It’s historic. The last time the legislature approved a general across-the-board living adjustment was 19 years ago,” said Mary Widmier, who retired from teaching 16 years ago.
Since then, she’s been active with the Texas Retired Teachers Association. She’s made multiple trips to the legislature advocating to increase funding for retirees, and they have bipartisan support.
Now it’s up to the voters.
“Proposition 9 is about funding a cost-of-living adjustment for retired Texas teachers,” said Lauren Dougherty with the League of Women Voters Houston. “Texas retired teachers are unique in that they do not receive social security benefits in the same way as other employees or people paying into that system and the way their retirement was funded does not include an automatic cost of living adjustment.”
Funding for the measure, if passed, comes from the state’s surplus.
“There are arguments against saying the cost-of-living adjustment proposed is not enough to offset high inflation on retirees,” Dougherty explained. “We realize that. I retired 16 years ago, so if I would calculate the accumulation of the cost-of-living over that period it would be 30 percent but we are also realistic. We know that no one is possibly going to come up with money to give a 30 percent increase.”
How would pensions increase? Those who retired before August 2001 would receive a 6% increase.
Those who retired between August 2001 and August 2013 would receive a 4% increase.
Finally, those who retired between 2013 and 2020 would get a 2% increase.
“The legislature was trying to help as many educators retired as possible,” Widmier said.
The Texas Retired Teachers Association says this is not a one-time increase, but one they’ll see for the foreseeable future.