Joe Ramirez taught social studies for President George W. Bush’s daughters, four-time Grammy award-winning artist Gary Clark Jr., and former Gov. Rick Perry’s son in Austin for 28 years. He stated he was able to live on his $2,200-a-month Teacher Retirement System of Texas cheque after retiring in 2012.
The above video is from ABC13’s 24-hour broadcast.
A decade later, his rent in Austin has more than quadrupled, and despite having a greater pension than the state average due to his retirement as an administrator, he is concerned that it will not keep up with his rising expenses and inflation.
“It’s tough for me, even with my higher pension,” Ramirez, head of Austin’s Retired Teachers Association, said. “It’s more of a monthly thing because of rent, rising grocery, medication and petrol prices.” Making it is quite difficult.”
Texas Proposes Pension Increases for Retired Teachers in Nov. 7 Election
Teachers and other school employees in Texas contribute to the Teacher Retirement System of Texas, which pays them monthly once they retire. Teachers who retired before 2004 have not seen their pensions increase since 2013, despite rising inflation, according to Tim Lee, executive director of the Texas Retired Teachers Association.
Retirees, on the other hand, may soon receive an increase in their monthly retirement checks if Texas voters support Proposition 9, which would authorise the state to spend $3.3 billion to provide cost-of-living adjustments for retirees, in the Nov. 7 constitutional amendment election. Earlier this year, lawmakers unanimously enacted Senate Bill 10, which placed the subject on the statewide ballot.
TRS reports that in 2022, slightly under 476,000 retired teachers will get an average monthly pension of $2,174. Pensions for retired teachers would be increased by 2% to 6% under Proposition 9.
Those who retired prior to August 31, 2001, would receive a 6% rise, while those who retired between August 31, 2001 and August 31, 2013 would receive a 4% rise. Teachers and staff who retire between August 31, 2013 and August 31, 2020 will earn a 2% rise.
Inflation has destroyed retired teachers’ pay over the last 20 years: $100 in September 2004 has the same purchasing power as $162.08 in September 2023, according to the Consumer Price Index.
Texas Teachers Hope for a Pensions Boost as Voters Consider Proposition 9
“Our retirees have the same amount of every month that they had back in 2004 if they’ve been retired for that long,” said Lee. “These people bear a significant financial burden.” These people must live in the same economy as the rest of us.”
According to Lee, the money for the pension rise would come from the state’s budget surplus, eliminating the need for a tax increase on Texans. If it passes, Lee hopes it will set a precedent for the Legislature to enhance teacher pensions more frequently in the future.
“It does give the Legislature an opportunity to enact things like another cost-of-living increase in a future legislative session,” Lee said in a statement.
The cost of living rise, according to Lee, would also assist former public school personnel like as bus drivers, nurses, paraprofessionals, librarians, and others.
“I think it’s important for our current school employees to see that we are going to help take care of our retired school employees,” Lee said in a statement. “It’s vital for them to see that their future is not bleak, that there is hope coming when we do things like this for our current retirees, and we’ll do it for our future retirees as well.”
Ramirez, who would receive a 4% raise if Prop. 9 succeeds, said he wants people to consider their former instructors while voting on the issue.
“Think of your favourite teacher who you had in school,” he continued. “And now that they’re retired, consider what they’re surviving on. They done a lot for you; now it’s your turn.