John Cornyn Triple-Dips on Government Pensions

Texas’ 61-year-old senior senator has a good deal. He has claimed retirement benefits from his time as a district attorney, as a state supreme court justice, and as state attorney general — to the tune of $65,383 — while collecting his senatorial salary. But Cornyn’s deal doesn’t compare to Rick Perry’s. The governor collects a $92,376 early pension while still collecting his gubernatorial salary.

Why the public generosity on office-holder’s pensions? It’s a nice little perk that lawmakers have quietly baked into the system for themselves, while claiming to be fiscal conservatives.

Andrew Griggs of the American Enterprise Institute notes, “…on average the retirement package for state government employees—meaning pensions and retiree health benefits—is around seven times [italics added] more generous than for similar workers employed in larger private-sector companies.”



  • Dubious Brother

    The elected State Senators and Representatives pensions are based upon the annual salary of a Texas state judge due to a law passed in the early 1980’s when I do believe the Democrats controlled Austin. It is time for governments at all levels to stop the defined benefit pension plans for employees and elected representatives and have defined contribution plans to eliminate future time bombs. The plan that our elected representatives have is illegal in the private sector.

    • jr30inky

      People are supposed to take your word because you ‘believe the Democrats controlled Austin’. How about some actual evidence for your claim?

      In any case, what kind of law allows a 61 year old senator to claim ANY pension, let alone three, before most Americans even get to retire. And Cornyn is a fraud to take that money after constantly complaining about wasteful government spending. If he really has conviction, and not just rhetoric, he shouldn’t take any of that money, or give it back to help balance the budget he and his colleagues keep saying is the nation’s biggest threat. It isn’t as if he needs the money; he already gets $170k/yr as a senator. And while $60k obviously won’t solve the debt problem, but it would be a good example of leadership and commitment to his cause, but that would assume Cornyn is more than just a fraud.

  • Jackson

    The legislature recently proposed raising judicial salaries to $151,909, an increase of more than 20 percent. This, of course, increases the pension for lawmakers by the same percentage. They love to raise judicial salaries. It feathers their own nests without the unseemly business of openly doing so….it’s always buried in something else, just one line within the massive, two-year state budget that must pass every session.

    There have been attempts to change this, but the legislature always demurs. As Mark Twain wrote in a slightly different context, “There’s money in it!”

  • Edward

    What always gets me are the elected folks always going on and on about how OTHER government employees are on the gravy train and we need to cut back on THEIR salaries and benefits.

    All the while they act as if they aren’t part of the government themselves.

  • TheGuy

    The fact that Perry does this is well known. That Cornyn has joined the party is not really that surprising, but needs to be pointed out to the Tea Party voters he is so desperately trying to appeal to (and who profess to hate this kind of behavior).

    My question is: how common is this across the nation? Who is the overall Chief Abuser of Dipping (CAD)? Does the sex or ethnicity of the dipper come into play, or is it just a free-for-all? Link, please.

  • Dubious Brother

    Texas had a Democrat Governor for over 100 years until Bill Clements in the 1980’s. The Democrats also controlled both the State House and Senate for the same period. Rpbublicans did not have a majority in the State Senate until the mid 1990’s and I am not sure when the House switched.
    After the Civil War, blacks were the driving force of the Republilcan party for obvious reasons.
    As far as Cornyn’s pensions, he is taking what has been given him or earned I suppose. As I stated above, no one in the private sector could have a plan like the one our elected officials have and all DB plans for public employees should be done away with as most people don’t understand the funding time bombs that they create and the easy manipulation of benefits that has been going on. In some cities, counties and states, the unfunded liabilities of the DB pension plans will bring about bankruptcy as current taxes cannot cover current expenses and lavish pensions of those that are retired.