Tribpedia: Employee Retirement System

The Employees Retirement System (ERS) oversees the retirement benefits for state employees. The agency, which was created in 1947, also manages a group benefits program, a retirement program and a savings program.

According to the agency's Web site, "the Executive Director is responsible for overseeing the overall operations of the agency, including legal, investment and legislative matters. Additionally, the ...

For Rep. Dawnna Dukes, delayed resignation yields bigger pension check

State Rep. Dawnna Dukes, D-Austin, speaks with media following the presentation of a $15,000 scholarship donation to Huston-Tillotson University at the African American Heritage Festival on the University campus in Austin, TX on Feb. 27, 2016.
State Rep. Dawnna Dukes, D-Austin, speaks with media following the presentation of a $15,000 scholarship donation to Huston-Tillotson University at the African American Heritage Festival on the University campus in Austin, TX on Feb. 27, 2016.

State Rep. Dawnna Dukes announced her retirement in September, but doesn't plan to make it official until Tuesday, delaying the date that voters can choose her successor. The move makes her annual pension payout $3,220 bigger, due to a quirk in the way Texas calculates benefits for outgoing elected officials. 

State Rep. Dan Flynn, R-Van, co-chair of the House Committee on Transparency in State Agency Operations, is shown calling an executive session on May, 12, 2014.
State Rep. Dan Flynn, R-Van, co-chair of the House Committee on Transparency in State Agency Operations, is shown calling an executive session on May, 12, 2014.

Senate Approves State Employee Pension Funding Plan

The Texas Senate on Friday voted to beef up the state’s underfunded retirement system for state employees by adding about $440 million to the program, a plan that has received mixed reviews from state employee advocacy groups.

State Rep. Dan Flynn, R-Van, co-chair of the House Committee on Transparency in State Agency Operations, is shown calling an executive session on May, 12, 2014.
State Rep. Dan Flynn, R-Van, co-chair of the House Committee on Transparency in State Agency Operations, is shown calling an executive session on May, 12, 2014.

House Takes Step to Patch Pension Fund Hole

State workers would pay more into their retirement system but get pay raises to offset the cost under legislation that earned preliminary House approval Monday. 

State Rep. Dan Flynn, R-Van, co-chair of the House Committee on Transparency in State Agency Operations, is shown calling an executive session on May, 12, 2014.
State Rep. Dan Flynn, R-Van, co-chair of the House Committee on Transparency in State Agency Operations, is shown calling an executive session on May, 12, 2014.

House Plan Would Plug Hole in Pension Fund

Texas House leaders unveiled a plan Tuesday to shore up the state's chronically underfunded retirement system for employees that requires workers to pay more into the system, but gives them a pay raise to offset the cost.

 

TribWeek: In Case You Missed It

Aaronson on Rick Perry's Texas Enterprise Fund, Aguliar on the DOJ's Joe Arpaio problem, Galbraith on the uncertainty about Texas' electric grid, Grissom and Schwartz of The New York Times on the latest in the Michael Morton case, Hamilton on the first leg of Perry's Iowa bus tour, Murphy and McLain unveil our new campaign finance database, Ramsey et al. go live with the first round of our 2012 election brackets, Root on a GOP rival's queries about Perry's pension play, M. Smith contrasts the various school finance lawsuits and Tan, Dehn and Murphy on a shortage of mental health professionals: The best of our best content from December 19-23, 2011.

Picture of one of millions of letters sent you by the Comptroller's office after it was discovered that the personal information of more than three million people was left unprotected for a year.
Picture of one of millions of letters sent you by the Comptroller's office after it was discovered that the personal information of more than three million people was left unprotected for a year.

Comptroller Offers Help After Data Mishap

Frustrated state employees continue to search for help — and answers — after the comptroller's office accidentally left sensitive personal data on an open server for anyone to see.

Texplainer: Can Wisconsin Happen Here?

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Gov. Scott Walker should come to Texas, where much of what he’s seeking already exists. The right to bargain collectively isn’t allowed among state employees, and no public employee in Texas may legally go on strike. 

Lawmakers Mull Reductions to Pension Plans

As Texas lawmakers look to slash billions in state spending, pension plans have become fair game. Mose Buchele of KUT News reports on a legislative proposal to decrease state contributions to two retirement plans that collectively serve hundreds of thousands of Texans.

Kace Layton, 25, on the Texas State University campus in San Marcos. Layton was dropped from his grandmother's state insurance plan on his last birthday, even though federal health care reform expanded dependent coverage until age 26.
Kace Layton, 25, on the Texas State University campus in San Marcos. Layton was dropped from his grandmother's state insurance plan on his last birthday, even though federal health care reform expanded dependent coverage until age 26.

Losing Dependence

Federal health care reform’s biggest benefit for young adults — a mandate that insurance providers cover dependents until they reach age 26 — won’t apply to thousands of 25-year-old Texans for one simple reason: Their parents work for the state. The federal rule, which went into effect in late September, required all insurance providers to extend their cap to 26 at the start of their next “plan year.” For many private providers, that began Jan. 1. But the Texas Employees Retirement System plan year doesn't begin until next September, meaning 5,500 25-year-olds will miss out. 

Benefits and Drawbacks

The insurance plan for state employees will have a $140.4 million shortfall next year — and that's the least of its problems. The projected shortfall for the two years after that is $880 million, and it will take another $476 million to replenish the legally required contingency fund. The Employee Retirement System and state leaders are surprisingly mellow about the red ink, saying growth in the cost of health benefits has actually stabilized at around 9 percent. But steady and large increases in costs threaten to erode the program, leaving policymakers to consider cuts in benefits, to negotiate lower prices or to find vast amounts of new money.

Doubling Down on Pension Losses?

When the economy tanked, public pension funds across the country — including here in Texas — lost billions. Some funds are looking to put more money into private equity, which promises big returns and carries big risks. As Matt Largey of KUT News reports, it could be doubling-down on losses already suffered.

No Experience Necessary

Few members of the State Board of Education have finance expertise. Should we be concerned that they manage the investments of the $23 billion Permanent School Fund?