June 12, 2010, 4:21PM
By virtue of our legislative districts, we, the members of the Travis County legislative delegation, represent a large number of active and retired state employees. We wrote to the Legislative Budget Board (LBB) on behalf of these constituents, as well as state employees across Texas, requesting an emergency appropriation to cover a shortfall in this biennium’s budget for the Texas Group Benefits Program administered by the Employee Retirement System (ERS). The Group Benefits Program provides health insurance to more than 528,000 state employees, retirees and their dependents.
As no additional state assistance has been appropriated, the ERS board determined it must ensure the fund’s solvency and voted on a plan to shift the cost of funding the shortfall to state employees. The proposed changes would take effect Sept. 1, giving the LBB — a joint committee co-chaired by Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and House Speaker Joe Straus — time to meet and remedy this situation.