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Summer group seminar registration is open

Our popular summer group seminars have been scheduled and are now available for member registration. (See schedule here.)

These sessions are geared towards members within 5-10 years of retirement (age 50+). You will receive personalized benefit estimates during the session. All sessions begin at 9:00 am and typically last two to three hours.

Dayton vetoes 2016 pension bill

MAY 31 – Gov. Mark Dayton has vetoed the 2016 Omnibus Pension Bill, which contained a provision to lower the retiree cost of living adjustment (COLA) from 2 percent to 1 percent for one year for TRA and from 2 percent to 1.75 percent for retirees in the Minnesota State Retirement System (MSRS) plan.

“These measures were part of sustainability plans that called for shared commitments among employers, current employees and retirees in order to secure the financial health and stability of the MSRS and TRA pension plans,” Dayton said in a letter to the legislature explaining the rationale for his veto.

Shared responsibility “remains an important principle in maintaining the soundness of Minnesota’s pension plans,” he added. “Unfortunately, [the pension bill] contains only one piece of the overall sustainability plans, placing sole responsibility for reducing plan liabilities on current retirees. It is not fair, and I cannot agree to it.”

State Legislature passes
2016 Omnibus Pension Bill

MAY 23 – The Minnesota House of Representatives on Sunday passed the 2016 Omnibus Pension Bill (SF588) on a vote of 129-3. The Senate version of the 2016 Omnibus Pension Bill passed out of that chamber Thursday on a 61-1 vote, with Sen. Eric Pratt the lone no vote. The bill now goes to Gov. Mark Dayton.

Legislative Commission on Pensions and Retirement (LCPR) chair Tim O’Driscoll (R-Sartell) summarized the provisions of the bill, whose major changes call for the investment return assumption for Teachers Retirement Association (TRA) to be lowered to 8 percent, and for the cost-of-living adjustment for retirees of TRA to be lowered to 1 percent for one year and for the Minnesota State Retirement System (MSRS) to be lowered to 1.75 percent for one year beginning Jan. 1, 2017. (More HERE.)

TRA board OKs sustainability plan

After months of discussion, careful consideration and input from stakeholder groups, the TRA Board of Trustees on Dec. 16 approved recommending to the legislature a sustainability package to put the pension fund on track for full funding and a stronger future for the state’s teacher retirement system.

Using shared sacrifice as its guiding principle, the board settled on a package that increases employer contribution rates by 1 percent (from 7.5 percent to 8.5 percent) and reduces the 2 percent cost-of-living adjustment to 1 percent for five years beginning Jan. 1, 2017, and to 1.75 percent beginning Jan. 1, 2022.

Employee contribution rates remain at 7.5 percent. The COLA change would impact both current and future retirees (today’s active teachers).

The recommendations are subject to review and approval by the state legislature and governor. (More here.)

2% benefit increase effective Jan. 1

A post-retirement increase of 2 percent will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2016.

Members who started receiving a benefit on or before July 1, 2014, will receive a 2 percent increase.

Members who started receiving a benefit between July 2, 2014, and June 1, 2015, will get a prorated increase.

If you are eligible for a post-retirement increase on January 1, you will soon receive a letter detailing the increase to your monthly benefit, along with current tax information.

State and federal tax tables are available on our website under Forms and Publications.

2015 annual statements available

Your 2015 annual statement is now available online. To view your statement, log into your MyTRA account.

Your statement contains important informaton about your TRA benefits, such as your years of service credit, your total contributions, and your vesting status.

2015 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) is available

The 2015 annual report for TRA is now available. This year, TRA also produced the Annual Report Highlights, which provides an overview of our financial condition.

Changes to leave payment timeline

Legislation passed in May 2015 resulted in a change to when a medical, family or parental leave payment is due. The deadline to make the payment without interest is Dec. 31 of the year following the fiscal year of the leave, rather than by June 30 of the year of the leave.

If the payment is not made by Dec. 31, 8.5 percent interest will be charged through the end of the month in which payment is made.  Any leave payment made after June 30 of the year following the fiscal year of the leave would be based on full actuarial cost.

The change was necessary because one of the determining factors in the cost of the leave is the salary earned. The final salary information for the leave period could not be determined by the June 30 deadline. The Dec. 31 deadline will allow time for all salary to be reported, issues resolved, and leave costs calculated and sent to members on leave. It will also allow time for the members on leave to make arrangements for a rollover or other payment option.

Note that an extended leave still has a deadline of June 30 of each fiscal year of the leave. 

Governor signs 2015 pension bill

Gov. Mark Dayton on May 22 signed the 2015 Omnibus Retirement Bill into law. The bill passed in the state House of Representatives unanimously and in the Senate on a 53-4 vote on May 17 following days of wrangling over state funding for the merger of the Minneapolis Employees Retirement Fund (MERF) into the Public Employees Retirement Association (PERA).

Here are the law's major provisions...

Broderick, Thompson elected
to TRA Board of Trustees

APRIL 9, 2015 – Mary Broderick was re-elected as active-member representative and Marshall Thompson was elected as a new active-member representative to the eight-member TRA Board of Trustees. Their four-year terms begin July 1, 2015. More here...

Study: Public pensions give
boost to Minnesota's economy

JULY 30 — Benefits paid by state and local pension plans support a significant amount of economic activity in Minnesota, according to the new study, "Pensionomics 2014" from the National Institute on Retirement Security. Pension benefits received by retirees are spent in the local community. This spending ripples through the economy, as one person’s spending becomes another person’s income. In 2012, expenditures stemming from state and local pensions supported 46,581 Minnesota jobs that paid $2.2 billion in wages and salaries, resulting in $7.0 billion in total economic output and generating $1.2 billion in federal, state, and local tax revenues in our state.

See the Minnesota fact sheet HERE. Read the full national report HERE.

Are pensions the cause of city
fiscal woes? Report says no

Detroit’s bankruptcy and Chicago’s pension problems have prompted a wave of speculation about city finances. What are the facts? The underlying problems in financially troubled cities have been decades in the making: population loss, declining tax bases, and other patterns of fiscal mismanagement.

Research from the Center for State & Local Government Excellence finds that:

Read the report HERE.

Additional News

Video: Pre-retirement beneficiary options

2016 Federal Tax Tables

2016 Minnesota Tax Tables


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Fund Facts


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