The news has been mostly good lately for the Texas Teacher Retirement System. Thanks to a law passed in 2013, the pension fund has grown significantly, allowing optimistic projections for the long term. However, critics continue to argue that such "defined benefits" plans should be replaced by "defined contribution" plans (such as ORP).
Tim Lee, executive director of the Texas Retired Teachers Association, recently published a rebuttal to one critic of public pensions, James Quintero of the Texas Public Policy Foundation. Mr Lee's article appeared in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Here is the link, which also includes the piece by Mr. Quintero.
The article by Mr. Lee is a keeper, particularly for TRS members as they visit with lawmakers who are "at home" in their districts during the interim before the next Regular Session.
Most Capitol observers believe TRS will remain in its present form, partly because one out of every 20 Texans is a participant in TRS—the "primary source of retirement security for teachers, principals, superintendents, school bus drivers, school administrative personnel and cafeteria workers. It has been so since 1937," as Mr. Lee puts it. This proportion includes current retirees, who are a potent political force in Austin.
It is important to keep in mind that many community colleges do not participate in the Social Security system. Hence TRS may be the only source of retirement income for these individuals.