Friday, June 17, 2005

What's good for the goose

is apparently too good for the gander. The Dallas Morning News yesterday published an article about how rich the Texas freshman class is.

Wealth aside (that is a topic for another rant), the article detailed a number of Texas Representatives who collect public pensions. Yes, we taxpayers, who are facing Social Security privatization and benefit cuts, and private pension funds being underfunded, converted to risky "defined-benefit plans," or going belly-up (sorry United employees), are paying for the "retirement" of folks who may have spent relatively few years in service and who definitely are not retired.

How many times have we heard of an average Joe being let go after 19 years on the job, coincidentally just one year before his pension vests? What is poor Joe to do? Serve as a Texas state or local judge or legislator, apparently.

Yes, I support fair pay and pension plans for legislators. How else will we have a snowball's chance in hell to get a citizen-legislature instead of a millionaire's club? Still, the level of pension need not be out of proportion to the pensions available to average citizens. And it should not be overly generous at a time when the state of Texas is underfunding Medicaid, SCHIP, and public education. And certainly not at a time when a few of those same legislators are considering cutting Social Security, all that stands between some Texans and an impoverished retirement.

Some examples of pensions now being collected (and yes, I only picked the Rs. Read the article if you want the rest.):

"Rep. Ted Poe, R-Humble, got $119,944 after retiring as a judge. . . . Rep. John Carter, R-Round Rock, collected $77,466. . . . Mr. Hall, a former county judge and state lawmaker, got $53,493. "


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can understand this kind of stuff when Texas was fat and happy on oil money. But when you're taking dental insurance away from poor children in the Valley, this is unreal.

They act as if trading on your status as a sitting PART-TIME lawmaker isn't lucrative in any sense.

12:34 PM  
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