PLANO, TX - After a roundtable discussion with local retired teachers, State Senator Van Taylor today signed, and plans to file immediately, the Deficit Solutions Act providing a long-term solution to shore up state pension funds including the Teacher Retirement System, teachers' health insurance plan, the Texas Tomorrow Fund, and Employees Retirement System. Taylor's plan utilizes the same conservative framework that has been successful in the recent historic investments in transportation infrastructure while also protecting the Rainy Day Fund (ESF).
Participants at the bill signing included Tonna Duke, District X Legislative Chair of Texas Retired Teacher Association (TRTA), Sandy Carlisle, Co-President of Frisco Retired Teacher Association, Suzanne Sayer, member of Frisco and Allen Retired Teacher Associations.
Senator Van Taylor signs Deficit Solutions Act with
Suzanne Sayer, Sandy Carlisle, and Tonna Duke (left to right).
Taylor thanked retired teachers in Senate District 8 for working on this legislation and for their service to our community stating, "Our area has active and vibrant retired teachers associations. I want to thank those here today, the hundreds I have had an opportunity to visit with during the interim, and every retired teacher for dedicating so much of their life to the next generation. Our schools in Senate District 8 are truly the crown jewels of our community and that is a testament to our quality teachers and their drive for excellence."
Tonna Duke, District X Legislative Chair of TRTA which includes Collin, Dallas, Ellis, Rockwall, Kauffman, Hunt, Fannin, and Grayson counties, said of the legislation, "Our membership has met with Senator Taylor on several occasions. Not only is Van's door always open, he truly listens and works hard to achieve long-term solutions on issues important to retired teachers and all Texans. The Deficit Solutions Act is the product of much collaboration and rather than simply applying some band-aide fixes or kicking the can it seeks to shore up state deficits for the next generation."
Since the funding stream into the ESF varies greatly from year to year, Taylor argues that its revenue should be placed into savings accounts rather than ongoing expenditures not equipped to withstand a volatile cash flow. Therefore, this Constitutional Amendment stipulates that in the event the ESF reaches its maximum allowable limit, surplus funds will be used to secure the state obligations of the Teacher Retirement System pension fund, teachers' health insurance plan, the Texas Tomorrow Fund, or Employees Retirement System pension fund. This is a long-term solution to a long-term problem addressing our state deficits and ensuring that Texas fully funds commitments it has made.
Discussing the legislation Taylor continued, "As a state, we must honor the promise we have made to our teachers and school workers. This Constitutional Amendment puts conservative solutions into action by ensuring that an unpredictable revenue stream is dedicated to shoring our obligations and placed in savings accounts rather than offering big-government politicians the ability to use the funds on new programs not equipped to withstand a volatile cash flow."
The ESF is an extremely difficult revenue stream to predict. From 2000 to 2013 actual deposits into the ESF have varied an average of 165%, with furthest estimate off 415% and the closest estimate off 23%. The actuarial soundness of a pension fund does not necessitate uniform deposits year after year in the same manner as general revenue funding making surplus revenues above the ESF limit a logical vehicle to fund state savings accounts.
A seventh generation Texan, local small businessman, and decorated Marine Officer, Van Taylor serves the majority of Collin County and a portion of Dallas County in the Texas Senate where he is widely recognized as a conservative leader. Taylor serves as Vice-Chairman of both the Nominations Committee and the Sunset Advisory Commission. He is also as a member of the Education, Health and Human Services, and Transportation Committees as well as the interim Committee on Property Tax Reform and Relief. Van and his wife, Anne, married after his return from Iraq and are the proud parents of three young girls. Van and his family reside in Plano near the land his great-grandfather farmed during the Great Depression.
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