Katy, TX (July 19, 2013) – State Representative Bill Callegari of Katy, TX, was honored in Austin by the Texas Retired Teachers Association for his successful efforts to improve the Teacher Retirement System pension fund with the passing of Senate Bill 1458.
Callegari, chairman of the House Pensions Committee, worked diligently with Senator Robert Duncan, chairman of the Senate Pensions Committee. As a result they were able to enact TRS pension reform at relatively low cost to the state and to school district employees. SB 1458 was signed by Governor Perry.
According to Tim Lee, TRTA executive director, SB 1458 helps make the TRS fund actuarially sound and protects the benefit plan for retired and active public school employees. “TRS retirees who retired on or before Aug. 31, 2004, will receive a 3 percent cost-of-living increase but the COLA has a cap that limits the annuity increase to $100 a month,” he said. “The COLA provision will help more than 195,000 TRS retirees. This legislation assures TRS members that the fund is actuarially sound. It also protects the TRS defined benefit plan for all future retirees and the retirement security of 1.3 million Texans, many of whom do not have Social Security benefits.”
At the reception, Lee presented Callegari with a crystal trophy bowl. Callegari, thanked the members of TRTA for their efforts in helping to get the bill passed. He said that before he was appointed Chairman of the House Pensions Committee, as a state representative, he was aware that many of the older TRS retirees were having a hard time living on their small TRS pension. “I will never forget when Brenda Ritter told me that I needed to help the elderly school district employees who were trying to survive on their small pensions. She told me it wasn’t the administrators who needed help, but those whose pensions were less than $1,000 a month.”
Ritter who retired as the Katy ISD communications coordinator is a member of the Katy Area Retired Educators and outgoing president of TRTA District 4. The 11,743 member district is the largest in the state and covers Harris, Ft. Bend, Galveston and Brazoria counties.
Callegari also thanked former Houston ISD Administrator Marcy Cann, incoming TRTA District 4 president. Cann is a member of the Houston Association of Retired Teachers.