2015 TPEA Legislative Survey Results

Response rate: TPEA’s 2015 Legislative Survey was open between Feb. 24 and March 6, 2015. The survey was sent to more than 84,000 state employee email addresses as well as our home email list. It received more than 17,000 responses, representing a 20 percent response rate.

How did we reach as many state employees as possible? We sent the survey to our home email list this year in order to reach more state employees who lack regular computer access at work. The survey was also optimized for mobile devices so it could be taken on a smartphone or tablet. Unfortunately, the survey tool does not provide information on the percentage of respondents using a particular type of device.

Key Results

Demographics & Future Plans

  • About 18 percent of respondents were “Millennials” (age 34 or younger). Seventy-nine (79) percent were between the ages of 35 and 64.
  • We received significant numbers of responses (at least 300) from each of the following agencies: Office of the Attorney General, Comptroller of Public Accounts, Dept. of Aging and Disability Services (DADS), Dept. of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services (DARS), Dept. of Criminal Justice (TDCJ), Dept. of Family and Protective Services (DFPS), Dept. of Public Safety (DPS), Dept. of State Health Services (DSHS), TxDOT, Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC), and Parks and Wildlife (TPWD).
  • Health insurance, followed closely by retirement plan and job stability/security, was cited as the No. 1 attraction to state employment.
  • Four-fifths (4/5) of respondents make less than $65,000 a year. More than three-quarters (3/4) report being their family’s primary or sole breadwinner.
  • Nearly three-quarters of respondents plan to retire from the State of Texas.
  • Among those who plan to leave state employment before retirement, the need for a higher income was the No. 1 reason (69 percent) cited, followed by the need for advancement or professional growth opportunities (20 percent).
  • Slightly more than half of respondents will be eligible to retire in the next 10 years.

Health Care

  • Respondents with a need for dependent health coverage reported meeting that need through a spouse’s employer (68 percent), the Healthcare Marketplace (8 percent), and Medicaid or CHIP (16 percent). Eight percent reported that their dependents lack coverage.
  • Only 3 percent of respondents said they were “very likely” to take a high-deductible health plan (HDHP)/Health Savings Account (HSA) option should one be offered by ERS.

Retirement

  • Thirty-nine (39) percent of respondents oppose the idea of changing the formula for Final Average Salary to 60 months; another 35 percent stated their position as neutral.
  • More than 70 percent of respondents oppose eliminating the ability to use unused leave to become eligible to retire and increase annuity amounts.
  • Sixty-four (64) percent of respondents oppose lowering the current retirement benefit multiplier from 2.3 percent to 2 percent for service earned after 12/31/15.
  • More than two-thirds of respondents support increasing the employee contribution rate to ERS when the increase is coupled with a pay increase. (This shows that the House proposal announced March 10 is in line with state employee attitudes.)
  • Changes to health care would lead 56 percent of respondents to seek employment outside of state government; changes to the pension system would lead 59 percent to do so; and a lack of a pay raise would drive 63 percent to take that action.