TO THE EDITOR:
I am a member of the Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA). I am a retired Texas public school employee and educated Texas children for 20 years.
I am asking for your support of Proposition 9 on the November General Election ballot. Prop 9, when passed, will provide the first cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) since 2004 for 420,000 Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS) annuitants.
No Texas public-school employee who has retired since September 1, 2004, has ever received a COLA. That is 70% of TRS retirees! TRS annuitants are living on an average monthly annuity of just $2,174, though more than 140,000 receive $1,000 or less per month!
Inflation is the highest it has been in 40 years. A pension increase for TRS retirees is needed and is overdue! All TRS retirees are suffering from inflation; but longer-term retirees are hit hardest. Many are struggling to pay their bills and are making difficult choices about food and medicine. Prop 9 will provide a tremendous value to our retirees, which in turn will benefit our local economy.
Many of our family, friends, and neighbors also do not know that most retired teachers are not eligible to receive Social Security; therefore, a TRS pension is their primary source of income. The Social Security raises that helped so many recently were often not received by your community's retired school personnel.
As a voter and taxpayer, you should know that when passed, Prop 9 will not create a tax increase! The Texas Legislature has already set aside the funds to make this happen with voter approval using surplus funds. In fact, Prop 9 has unanimous legislative support. Every single one of the members of the Texas Senate and House voted to support this much-needed retirement boost!
Please show your dedicated retired educators and the Texas Legislature that you support providing much-needed financial relief for TRS annuitants by voting FOR Prop 9.
Mary Nell Short
Wake Village, Texas