Retiring While Still on the Job May Become a Thing of the Past in TX

Photo by The Texas Tribune

Over two months ago, Democratic Rep. Chris Turner introduced a bill to stop double-dipping, the practice by which any Texas state representative, senator or nonjudicial state official can collect a pension and a salary at the same time. It's a bill to ban retiring on the job.

At a hearing Wednesday of the House Pensions Committee, Turner pointed out how fiscally irresponsible it is to allow state officials to collect a salary and a pension. 

"At this Capitol we frequently tout Texas as a national example for fiscal responsibility. This legislation helps us make that case more credibly, I think, by barring elected officials from being paid twice by our state taxpayers for one job," he said.

"It's situations such as this - collecting a pension without retiring - that makes Texans cynical about politics and angry that politicians could ever receive such a lucrative perk that most families could never dream of for themselves," Turner added.

Perry spokeswoman Lucy Nashed told the Texas Tribune that if the bill passes both houses, Perry will consider it.

"The governor will review any bill that makes it through the process and [onto] his desk," Nashed said. Incredibly tepid words from a governor whose entire shtick is fiscal restraint. Then again, it was Perry who brought double dipping to national attention when he retired on the job in late 2011 to start collecting more than $90,000 per year.  

Not all Republicans are so timid; Rep. Dan Branch (R-Dallas), a potential 2014 candidate for Attorney General, said he supports "the concept" of the bill. Now, House Bill 413 has to get out of committee to a vote on the floor of the House. There are only 33 days left before the legislative closes for two years. This is an important bill that promotes fiscal responsibility, and should find overwhelming support on both sides of the aisle.  

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