Thursday, June 02, 2005

Legislative, er.., I Mean Judicial Raises

OffTheKuff posted a story on the end-of-session fight over a judicial pay raise. There is one wrinkle he didn't mention in his post which is the focus of the article, Legislators up their pensions, cut teachers' :
The lawmakers' pensions are set to increase because of their vote to raise the pay of state judges. Years ago, legislators tied their own pension benefits to the salary of state district judges, which would increase to $125,000 under the legislation -- up from the current $102,700. A 12-year legislative veteran would see a yearly pension increase of $6,000.
That definitely sheds a different light on it. There are some good quotes in this article from a couple of retired teachers, but my favorite is this one:
"I'm voting against anybody, Republican or Democrat, that comes up for re-election ... including [Gov. Rick] Perry when he comes up," (Franklin) Nix, (72), said. "And I'm a redneck, right-wing Republican."
That is just quality stuff there. I'm not going to speculate on anyone's motives; this is just one other dimension to the story. When it was voted on in the House, SB 368 (.pdf document--see bottom of page 7) was not a record vote, but several registered their vote with the Chief Clerk as being a no, among them Rep. Krusee, meaning Rep. Gattis voted for it. A few made statements on their vote wishing a judge's pay increase was not tied to an increase in legislative pensions.

The Senate votes were unanimous or close to it, with Sen. Wentworth voting against it once during a procedural vote. I could definitely see how this would not make Rep. Keel very popular with his fellow legislators though.

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