Lax Texas ethics laws don’t require politicians to disclose pension income, so virtually no one knew Rick Perry was double dipping until he ran for president and had to comply with more stringent federal disclosure laws.
That bid for office revealed that Perry was collecting his salary as governor, in addition to receiving a pension available to long-serving members of the “elected class” reported the Texas Tribune.
Perry has said it would be foolish not to take advantage of the provision.
Pensions are not based on the $600 a month legislators receive, but tied to the pay of a state district judge which is not $140,000 per year.
Where do other candidates stand?
Greg Abbott, the leading Republican candidate, says he wants to prohibit double dipping. However, state Rep. Chris Turner, D-Grand Prairie, questions that support. Turner introduced a bill eliminating double pay that was ignored by Republican leaders. The bill never made it past committee stage.
Turner said he could have used help from Abbott, a close Perry ally, when the bill was up for a debate, and he questioned why Abbott was talking about it on the campaign trail now.
Abbott’s most likely Democratic opponent, state Sen. Wendy Davis, of Fort Worth, supports the ban.
Republican Jerry Patterson, says he will use the law to increase his pay if he is elected lieutenant governor in 2014. Otherwise, he said, he could not afford to take the job, which pays the same paltry sum legislators get.
The law has been on the books since the early 1990s.