Governor Pawlenty signs Omnibus Federal tax changes
Pension Bill On May 28, 2003, President
Bush signed into law the Jobs
On May 23, 2003, the Minnesota usage and contribution payment
and Growth Tax Relief
Senate passed what was to become details to the Legislature by
Reconciliation Act of 2003.
the 2003 Omnibus Pension Bill with February 2005.
a vote of 65-0, while the House Many cuts originally included
! Authorization to purchase all
passed the bill the following day with types of prior service credit was in the 2001 Bush Tax Cut
a vote of 97–31. extended by one year until legislation were accelerated and
On May 30, 2003, Governor May 16, 2004. The effective date will now become effective
Pawlenty signed the 2003 Omnibus of the extension is May 31, 2003. retroactively to January 1, 2003.
Pension Bill into law. (MN Laws Some of the provisions
! An actuarial cost study is
(2003), 1st Special Session, Chapter 12) incorporated into the bill
required to consider the
include lower individual tax
The 2003 Omnibus Pension Bill feasibility of restructuring TRA,
rates, expansion of the
includes the following provisions that and the Minneapolis, St. Paul and
10 percent tax bracket,
are important for TRA members. Duluth teachers retirement
marriage-penalty relief, and an
! Teachers who are granted an association funds. The report is
due to the Legislature by increased child credit.
extended leave of absence may
negotiate with the school district January 15, 2004. Provisions affecting investors
for full or partial payment of the An overview of the entire bill can be and tax breaks for businesses
employee’s portion of retirement viewed on the Legislative were also addressed in the bill.
contributions and health care Commission on Pensions and Members and retirees should
premiums. The law also requires Retirement (LCPR) web site at see the effects of these tax
TRA to report extended leave www.commissions.leg.state.mn.us/ changes starting July 1.
The new Federal tax tables are
effective July 2003 through
Timely reminders... December 2004 and have been
posted on our web site under the
Who is your beneficiary? designated beneficiary. If you are Forms and Publications section.
unsure who you have designated as If you would like to receive a
It is very important to update your your beneficiary, call or write to copy of the new Federal tax
TRA beneficiary designation if TRA and be sure to include your tables by mail, please contact
you experience any life changes, Social Security Number or TRA our Customer Service
such as a divorce or the death of Number as an account identifier. In
your spouse. By law, pension Information Center at
either case, we will mail a copy of 651-296-2409 or 800-657-3669.
benefits are paid from an active your latest beneficiary designation
member’s account in the to you.
following order: to a surviving
spouse, if any; dependent (continued on page 3)
children, if any; and finally to a
70.35 percent. Ten years later in
1997, due in large part to the
outstanding investment returns during
the 1990s, TRA reached 100 percent
funding 23 years ahead of schedule.
At the end of fiscal year 2002, TRA
Carol F. Ackerson, President was 105.31 percent funded – a very
Life is full of surprises TRA assets totaled $3.5 billion in
1987, which seemed like a lot of
That phrase seems to have more history. Looking to the future of money. Steadily rising through the
meaning to retired teachers than to TRA, I wish to welcome your newly- 1990s, our assets reached the amazing
the average teacher, but it certainly is elected representative, Richard total of $17.3 billion last year.
appropriate for all of us. Gendreau, as well as to congratulate
Sandy Schaefer on being re-elected to It is very rewarding to take a step
One of the surprises of growing older back and recount our achievements
is that health issues develop that are the Board of Trustees.
and acknowledge that our efforts
totally unexpected. Hearts begin to do Sixteen years have passed. I am along the way really made a
strange things, knees give out, back writing my last column for the TRIB difference. The most significant
aches occur when there is no reason and preparing for the June Board accomplishments that I can recall
for them, and various body parts meeting – my last as an active teacher must include the major benefit
become good at predicting changes in representative. In 2001, I experienced improvements passed by the
the weather. However, by and large, similar feelings when I retired from 41 Legislature in 1989 and 1997.
teachers are a healthy lot and the years of teaching; a career that gave
(continued on page 3)
actuaries are often surprised at how me a valuable understanding of the
long we live to collect our well- important issues concerning our
deserved retirement benefits. members.
There is no doubt that teaching for As the years pass, it is easy to allow
nine months of the year, taking care our struggles and accomplishments to
of our families, preparing lesson fade and become entangled with daily Minnesota Teachers Retirement Association
plans, keeping up with state teaching life. Looking back through the TRA 800.657.3669 651.296.2409
requirements and surviving archives to 1987, it’s interesting to www.tra.state.mn.us
extracurricular duties creates stress. see how we have grown as a pension Executive Director, Gary Austin
Every teacher I have ever known looks fund.
forward to summer as a break during The TRIB is published four times a year.
Benefit recipients numbered 15,629 in If differences develop between the
which both mental and physical 1987, while that number more than information provided and the laws of
healing can take place. However, by doubled to 34,974 in 2002.
TRA, the laws will govern.
the end of August most teachers are Interestingly, the average annual Board of Trustees, Statutory Members
ready to face the rigors of another year benefit more than tripled over that Dr. Cherie Pierson Yecke, Commissioner
and have recaptured the enthusiasm to same period of time, from $8,083 to
Department of Children, Families and Learning
maintain the schedule that allows for $27,059. The most remarkable statistic
Dan McElroy, Commissioner
Department of Finance
successful teaching. is the rise in benefits paid to our Bob Lowe
One of the joys of retirement is members. In 1987, TRA paid benefit Minnesota School Boards Association
endless summer. There is time for recipients a total of $125 million. Board of Trustees, Elected Members
walks, mind-relaxing hobbies, Fifteen years later, annual benefits Carol F. Ackerson Vernell R. Jackels
personal sports, reading for pleasure paid have increased to $946 million – President Retiree Representative
800 Center Street 43 Michigan Lane
and healthy eating. 7.5 times the amount paid in 1987. New Ulm MN 56073 Winona MN 55987
One of the highlights of my career A meaningful measure of a pension Richard Gendreau
Martha Lee Zins
17509 Saddlewood Ln
was when I was elected to the Board fund’s financial stability is its 2480 Sparrow Ln NE Minnetonka MN 55345
Bemidji MN 56601
of Trustees in 1987 and nominated funding ratio – the ratio of assets to Sandy Schaefer
Curtis D. Hutchens P.O. Box 118
Board President in 1999. Thank you accrued liabilities. Our funding Vice President Fairfax MN 55332
for allowing me to be a part of TRA percentage in 1987 was 10830 - 57th Street
Clear Lake MN 55319
President’s corner TRA computer system will make it of Trustees, I can only hope that
(continued) possible for members to access their one of the surprises that life brings
own records, produce estimates using may be an opportunity to serve
Reaching full funding in 1997 and current member account information, you again in a new role. Someone
moving into our new Retirement as well as allow TRA staff to once said about retirement, “You
Systems of Minnesota building in accomplish their work more can’t turn back the clock, but you
2001 are two other milestones that efficiently. can wind it up again.” I am one of
come to mind. those healthy retirees who hopes
So many changes have taken place
Looking forward, let’s not forget over the years I have been a member to collect from the fund for many
the systems development project of the Board of Trustees. When years and, if the opportunity
that will allow TRA to improve struggling with what is best for TRA, arises, I would enjoy the chance to
customer service and respond to I would encourage current and future give back to TRA by some day
the ever-increasing requests for board members to take a step back rejoining the Board of Trustees as
personal retirement services. TRA and look at how far we have come. a retired member representative.
is nearly three years into a four- Looking back at our past sometimes Life is full of surprises. It is up to
year systems redesign called the makes it easier to visualize what each of us to make the most of
FROST project (Functional plans we need to make for the future. those surprises when they rise.
Redesign of Strategic
Technologies). Scheduled for full Although this may be the end of my
implementation in 2004, the new current service with the TRA Board
Timely reminders... (continued) be paid to you within one month of workshop locations and dates are
your retirement date. Payments made available. Most workshops offered at
Part-time teacher program after one month will change your locations in Greater Minnesota are
benefit accrual date. By law, an held at 9:00 am and 2:00 pm on each
The Part-Time Teacher Program
annuity cannot begin to accrue more day scheduled. Since attendance is
allows a part-time teacher or a full-
than one month before the date of limited to 20 individuals, you must
time teacher planning to job share or
receipt of the final paycheck on make an appointment prior to
work part-time may be eligible to
which TRA deductions are required. attending a workshop.
purchase full-time service credit
toward TRA retirement for part-time Attend a summer workshop Please have the following
teaching service. You may be eligible
The voices of your students have information available when you call
to participate in this program if you
faded in the hallways and final grades to make an appointment so a
are: a part-time teacher, a full-time
have been posted. It’s time to shift retirement estimate can be prepared:
teacher planning to job share or work
your thoughts to spending time at the your contract salary, the amount of
part time, a state university or college
lake, tackling those gardening service credit you may have with
professor planning a MnSCU phased-
projects, and, that’s right, retirement another Minnesota public retirement
in retirement, or a Legislator who is
planning. If you are thinking about system, your anticipated retirement
also a TRA-covered employee.
retiring in the near future, you might date, and the date of birth of your
Teachers wishing to participate in the spouse (if applicable).
want to attend one of our Preparing
Part-Time Teacher Program must
for Retirement summer workshops. Schedule an appointment by calling
enter into an agreement with their
TRA schedules workshops during the 800-657-3669 and then pressing “1” to
employer before October 1. Your
summer so you won’t have to take connect with our appointment desk.
employer is responsible for sending a
time off from work to attend.
copy of the agreement along with
form TRA-7500 to TRA. The latest schedule was printed in the
spring issue of the TRIB, but
Payment of final salary openings still remain. Call the
Customer Service Information Center Active member annual
You may want to remind your payroll
or check our web site at statements are scheduled
office that, because of your
www.tra.state.mn.us to see which to be mailed in late October.
retirement plans, ALL salary MUST
Teachers Retirement Association PRSRT
60 Empire Drive Suite 400 FIRST-CLASS MAIL
St Paul MN 55103-4000 U.S. POSTAGE
Return Service Requested PERMIT NO. 3844
Name and address changes can be made online at www.tra.state.mn.us (once you have registered and received a
member login). You also may call our Customer Service Information Center at 651-296-2409 or 800-657-3669. If you
prefer, mail the form below to TRA and be sure to include the printed mailing label with your request.
Please check all boxes that apply: Active member Name change Address change
Present Last Name (Please Print) First Name Middle Name Birth Name
Address TRA Membership Number
City State Zip Social Security Number
What do I need to know against identify theft. Although ! Although TRA has established
when contacting TRA we are able to search our member satellite offices in St. Cloud and
database by first and last name, it Mankato, we ask that you address
about my account?
may be difficult to accurately all correspondence to our main
! Personally contact TRA when distinguish between member office in St. Paul:
inquiring about your account. To accounts, especially with common Teachers Retirement Association
ensure that the privacy of your last names like Anderson, Smith, 60 Empire Drive Suite 400
account is maintained, we will not Nelson, etc. St. Paul MN 55103-4000
provide information to your After providing the proper
spouse or financial planner unless Schedule an individual counseling
identification, you may request appointment or make a reservation
we have received a Release of information about your account,
Information form. If we have a for one of our workshops by
ask to have a form or publication calling 800-657-3669, pressing
Power of Attorney form on file, mailed to you, change your
we can provide information to “1” to connect with our
address, request a retirement appointment desk. You will then
your Power of Attorney. estimate or refund application, etc. be asked to specify the location of
! Include your TRA number or ! Be sure to include your return your appointment.
Social Security Number with all address on all correspondence to
correspondence. Providing an ensure that your request is
account identifier will help us processed without delay.
assure that only you have access to
personal information and guard
Page 4 The TRIB is available in alternative formats upon request by calling 800-657-3669 or 651-296-2409.