Alonzo, Roberto R.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 07/22/2015
State employees honor Reps. Flynn and Alonzo as Legislators of the Year
Largest state employee association honors lawmakers for their leadership in preserving the Employees Retirement System pension fund
AUSTIN, TEXAS—Rep. Dan Flynn (Van) and Rep. Roberto Alonzo (Dallas) have been named Legislators of the Year by the Texas Public Employees Association, a nonunion, nonpartisan legislative advocacy organization for Texas state government employees and retirees. Flynn and Alonzo distinguished themselves in the eyes of the association’s 15,000 members for the leadership role they took in addressing the unfunded liabilities of the Employees Retirement System (ERS) pension fund through the authorship and passage of House Bill 9. The two lawmakers were honored at the TPEA Awards Luncheon July 18 at the Holiday Inn–Town Lake in Austin.
“These leaders took a bold stand, presenting a solution that both preserves this valuable benefit for state employees and is in step with prudent stewardship of taxpayer resources,” said Gary Anderson, TPEA executive director. “With House Bill 9, Representatives Flynn and Alonzo show their understanding of how critical a stable, experienced workforce is to the state’s ability to serve Texas citizens.”
HB 9, which increases both the state and employee pension fund contribution rates to 9.5 percent, ensures that the ERS pension fund is funded at levels very close to actuarial soundness. (The increased employee contribution is offset by a 2.5 percent pay raise for employees contributing to the pension fund.) Prior to the session, Moody’s Investors Services had warned of a possible downgrade to the state’s credit rating should lawmakers not address the pension fund’s $7.5 billion and growing unfunded liability. Flynn and Alonzo—the chair and vice chair of the House Pensions Committee—led a bipartisan House effort to address this critical issue with increased state and employee contribution rates and without detrimental benefit design changes. They worked closely with the House Appropriations Committee, their Senate colleagues and the ERS staff to address this complex issue.
Along the way, these lawmakers also consulted regularly and closely with TPEA, ensuring that state employees were a part of the solution.
“By ensuring that all stakeholders were heard, these lawmakers were able to see HB 9 to passage in the House and the Senate as well as receive the governor’s signature,” Anderson said. “We appreciate the honest and open dialogue we have with Representatives Flynn and Alonzo regarding issues facing the state workforce.”
About the Texas Public Employees Association
Founded in 1946, the Texas Public Employees Association is the oldest and largest legislative advocacy organization for Texas state employees. The nonunion, nonpartisan membership association has 15,000 active and retired state employee members across the state.