Ha! Psyche! He’s just taking retirement pay while still receiving his governor’s salary! Wait, what?
Apparently, under a provision in Texas law, certain state officials can be paid a retirement benefit while they still work. And Governor Perry, who is perhaps more savvy than we’ve given him credit for, is milking that teat like a farmer on speed:
Mr. Perry invoked the provision last year, disclosing in December that he had increased his take-home pay by more than $90,000 a year through his on-the-job retirement. He also makes $150,000 a year as governor.
Perhaps even better is that hardly anyone even knew about this lovely little benefit until Rick Perry, the man who promised to eliminate congressional benefits, ran for president:
In Texas, the considerable pension benefits given to politicians are exempt from government transparency laws and not subject to ethics disclosure rules. But Mr. Perry, a presidential candidate before dropping out last month, had to reveal the pension payments to the Federal Election Commission.
Moreover, Perry points out that he’d be an idiot not to capitalize on this benefit:
“I would suggest to you that it’s rather inappropriate if you’ve earned something if you don’t take it and take care of your family,” Mr. Perry said. “This was put into place by the Legislature, and if your point is it’s not appropriate, then the Legislature will change it.”
The provision allows certain employees to benefit from two retirement systems, the elected class and the employee class. Thus, elected officials can receive the employee benefit while they serve in their elected capacity. Rick Perry apparently ranks among nearly 200 public employees that receive over $100,000 in salary while earning pension benefits.
Suddenly Perry’s campaign foibles make perfect sense. Retirees in America seem prone to annoying behaviors: clogging highways with Winnebagos, voting for Republicans, and writing checks after the cashier finishes ringing everything up. Also, using checks. Get a fucking debit card!