Fighting for a 13th ERS Check and COLA at the Texas Capitol

As we enter the summer months, AFSCME Texas Retirees is squarely focused on making sure the Texas Legislature next year supports a 13th check for retired state employees and lays the groundwork for a long-term Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA).

We are proud that 19 of the 23 candidates we endorsed in the legislative primaries and runoffs won their elections and will be on the November ballot. We endorsed these candidates after reviewing their records and views on the issues most important to Texas retirees, including maintaining the state’s $1 billion commitment each biennium to make the Employees Retirees System (ERS) actuarily sound.

Earlier this month, our president, Luther Elmore, testified to the Senate Finance Committee about the urgent need to support retired state workers as we deal with historic inflation, which is making it harder to buy everything from groceries to gas and to save for unexpected emergencies. 

He made two critical requests of our state leaders.

First, this record inflation provides a clear call to action to approve a 13thyearly check for ERS members next year. The Legislature set an important precedent for authorizing a 13th check when they did so for retired teachers in 2019 and again last year. Retired state employees deserve the same.

Second, lawmakers must lay the groundwork for a long-term COLA. Last year, they approved the law that commits the state to invest more than $1 billion each biennium to finally make ERS actuarily sound. Once that happens, the state can legally provide a COLA to ERS recipients. Lawmakers must start planning now to set aside funding.

AFSCME Texas Retirees will continue taking these messages to lawmakers and state leaders before, during, and after the 88th Legislature meets next year. Our union now has 9,300 members — more than ever before. We will make sure each of your voices is heard at the Capitol as we testify at hearings, endorse candidates, and meet directly with lawmakers who have the power to do the right thing for us.

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