While many bills were passed during the 88th Legislative session, TPEA was disappointed to see that the provision for an additional stipend to support our retired state employees was not included. During this period of high inflation, a one-time check would offer a great deal of relief to those retired from state employment.
Despite our dedicated efforts in conjunction with many other advocacy organizations, the past legislative session failed to allocate even a small portion (0.7% or $250 million) of the $32 billion dollar surplus to support those who have dedicated their lives to the growth and prosperity of Texas.
It is truly disheartening that this provision was not included. State employees (including retirees) tirelessly work behind the scenes, often without recognition, with their contributions benefiting the entire state. From providing clean water and well-maintained roads to preserving wildlife parks, governing medical boards, and supporting the arts, state employees (and retirees) play a crucial role in our daily lives. Acknowledging the tremendous impact that state employees and retirees have on the state of Texas is long overdue.
State retirees dedicate their careers to serving the public, often accepting lower compensation compared to their counterparts in the private sector. Unfortunately, due to financial constraints, many retire only to find themselves forced to return to work.
An alarming example of this can be seen in the Health and Human Services Commission, where a significant proportion of employees are return-to-work retirees, with over 3% of their workforce falling into this category. If we consider just half of the approximately 150+ different agencies, the number of retirees returning to work is still shockingly high. More than 50% of our members polled either continued working or returned-to-work to maintain their standard of living.
Texas' economic success has been on the backs of retired and current State employees. This is our Governor's opportunity to help by adding a stipend for retired state employees. It's been over 20 years since they've had one. It is time.
Are you a return-to-work retiree? Let us know in the comments.