October 18, 2010
Texas State Representative Todd Hunter
445 Cape Henry
Corpus Christi, TX 78412
Dear Mr. Hunter,
EMPACT, the Political Action Committee fo the Texas Public Employees Association (TPEA) is pleased to endores your candidacy. As the oldest and largest legislative advocacy organization for active and retired state employees, TPEA is a mainstream, non-union professional association with over 17,000 members. Please feel free to use this endoresement to support and promote your candidacy.
Looking towards the upcoming 82nd Legislative Session you are well aware that the budget shortfall is the most pressing issue facing the state and has been estimated to be anywhere from $18 billion to $23 billion for the next biennium. This session we hope to work closely with you on the issues and have established the following legislative priorities for the upcoming budget cycle:
- Preserve affordable health benefits,
- Support equitable methods to resolve the State’s budget deficit, and
- Improve standard of living for ERS retirees.
Of particular importance is our priority to preserve affordable health benefits for state employees and retirees. If the recently submitted Legislative Appropriations Request (LAR) by the Employee Retirement System (ERS) were to be adopted, it would result in a drastic change to employee and retiree health care benefits. It is estimated that employees and retirees would be subject to a $2500 to $3500 deductible, or significant reduction in the state’s premium contrbution for the employee or retiree and their dependents.
State employee salaries average roughly $38000, with fully 30% of the workforce under $30,000 per year. Clearly these employees are not capable of absorbing cost shifiting of this kind which could make health insurance coverage unaffordable to them. In addition, these changes would seriously undermine the ability of the sate to recruit and retain a competent workforce well into the future.
TPEA has a history of working with the legislature to find smart and equitable solutions on the budget and other legislative issues. We are working on several proposals to preserve affordable health care for state employees and look forward to sharing them with you when appropriate.
Thank you for offering yourself up for public service during these difficult economic times. We wish you luck during the 2010 General Election.
Gary W. Anderson
TPEA Executive Director