No, retirement communities throughout the Lone Star State are not in open rebellion, refusing to take their medications and eat dinner at 4 pm. What I am talking about here is a new movement in Texas to allow Texas public employers to not have to report just how much they spend on their retired employees’ health benefits.
Believe it or not, this is an issue for some public employers because of a new requirement put out by the non profit Governmental Accounting Standards Board, which requests that public employers make known just how much they are spending on health care insurance premiums for their retired employees. But in the state of Texas, government officials there are supposedly, according to the New York Times, thinking of letting their public employers off the hook. They don’ t say, “Don’t Mess with Texas,” for nothing!
The rule was initially put out in 2004 by the Governmental Accounting Standards Board, which makes it their job to set out guidelines for public employers when it comes to how they do their books. The reason Texas is responding to it now is because the law was passed in 2004 but does not go into effect until this year, and only then for the largest public employers out there. The rule does not just have to deal with retired employees or current spending, but requires public employers to report on all of their health care spending for current employees as well, as well as estimated future spending on health care down the road.
So far the Texas House cast a vote of 142 to nil to pass a law that would make this rule not apply to Texas public employers. Initially, Texas wanted to ban the law outright, but the version of the law passed allows the public employer to choose for themselves whether or not they want to follow the GASB rule. The Senate will vote on the measure next week.