Texas retired civil servants deserve a raise (opinion)


Over the past three months, Austin lawmakers have banded together across partisan and regional divides to use some of the state’s $33 billion surplus to help combat record inflation, We agreed to help the Texans who deserve it.

But there is a significant group of Texans who are struggling financially and are still not admitted to the state budget. Retired state employees like myself.

I am one of nearly 123,000 Texans who receive monthly pension checks through the Employee Retirement Plan and have contributed throughout my career. Those checks have been flat since 2001, the first year of Rick Perry’s inauguration as governor and George W. Bush as president.

In the last 22 years, the Texas Legislature has not approved a single Retiree Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA). The Social Security Administration has done so virtually every year under both Republican and Democratic presidents.

In the meantime, Congress has also not provided 13th annual checks to supplement our annual income, such as those retired teachers have deserved, received, and will receive again this year, the last two legislative sessions. .

Inflation, on the other hand, has been above 6% for two years. Our income is fixed, but our expenses keep increasing. We pay more to fill our cars and trucks with gas, put food on our tables, buy medicines and prescriptions, and travel to see our children and grandchildren.

In parliament, means Provide additional monthly checks for retirees. That will cost him $250 million, which is a small percentage of his $33 billion budget surplus.

parliament still has time With just five weeks left until Congress closes on May 29, we will be delivering our 13th check.

Now the legislature must prove that it also has intention To help retired employees like myself who have made every corner of the state a great place to live, work and do business.

Two days after graduating from high school, I started working at the print shop at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas. After earning his bachelor’s degree there, he managed the television production facility and radio station at Stephen F. Austin University in Nacogdoches. He then worked at Lufkin State Schools and Lufkin Support at the Living Center where he worked for 34 years before retiring in 2010.

My career choices reflect my commitment to giving back to others and serving my community, even if it pays less than the private sector. I began volunteering at a supported living center that serves Texans with physical and developmental disabilities.

I’m not alone Tens of thousands of other retirees kept public safe, served vulnerable children and seniors, and built and maintained the roads, parks, and infrastructure that enabled our state to grow and thrive. He believed he would be stable after retirement, so he earned less than other jobs.

But on average, workers who retired in 2001, the year of the last benefit enhancement, now receive less than $18,000 a year in pensions.

These former state employees aren’t just flocking to Austin. I work with dedicated colleagues throughout East Texas, and retirees live in literally every Texas House and Senate district. So each of the 181 members of Congress represents retirees, just as they represent homeowners, civil servants, and current and former teachers.

Our lawmakers are wisely supporting these other groups. It’s also time to support the former state employees who made Texas great.

John “Dan” Maxwell is a retired state worker, president of the statewide retirees chapter of the Texas Civil Service Association, and chairman of the Texas Employee Political Action Council.

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