Rick Perry: Retired, But Still Governor Of Texas

Thanks to what seems like an odd quirk in the Texas State pension system, Rick Perry is collecting retirement benefits for his previous years as a Texas public official while still serving, and receiving a salary, as Texas Governor:

Rick Perry has done something his opponents have been hoping he’d do for years: retire. But it’s not what the governor’s detractors had in mind.

Perry officially retired in January so he could start collecting his lucrative pension benefits early, but he still gets to collect his salary — and has in turn dramatically boosted his take-home pay.

Perry makes a $150,000 annual gross salary as Texas govenor. Now, thanks to his early retirement, Perry, 61, gets a monthly retirement annuity of $7,698 before taxes, or $6,588 net. That raises his gross annual salary to more than $240,000.

Perry spokesman Ray Sullivan said the governor’s early collection of his pension benefits is “consistent with Texas state law and Employee Retirement System rules.


“Perry was legally able to begin collecting the employee class annuity under the ‘rule of 80.’ The combination of his U.S. military service, state service and age exceeded 80 years and qualifies him for the annuity under Texas Government Code 813.503 as amended in 1991,” Sullivan said. “Perry continues to pay into the Employees Retirement System with a 6.5 percent withholding from his state salary.”

Perry will get credit for his the subsequent years he works as Texas governor, so he’ll receive a higher pension benefit if he serves out the remaining three years of his term as Texas governor, officials said. He also is eligible for Social Security benefits and lifetime, state-provided health care.

The early retirement manuever came to light Friday in new ethics disclosures from the Federal Election Commission, which requires all candidates running for federal office to provide details about how they make their money.

Perry’s presidential campaign had sought two successive delays of the personal financial disclosure filing but had to turn them in by 5 p.m. Thursday.

It’s completely legal, but still dammed odd, and probably not the kind of image one wants to present while running for President.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2012, US Politics, , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Hey Norm says:

    Kind of funny for the party that is obsessed with eliminating public unions…I mean this is the sort of benefit that is symbolic of that, no?
    I guess it’s OK if you are the one on the recieving end…not so much if it’s “other’s”.
    Republicans get theirs…then want to pull up the ladder behind them.
    Nothing new here…other than the specifics.

  2. A lot of the state GOP in the Mid-atlantic reason (particularly Chris Christie), got elected by running against this sort of double-dipping as a form of public corruption by the public employee unions. Wille be interesting to see how they react to one of their own doing it.

  3. mantis says:


  4. Dustin says:

    Couldn’t Perry make the argument though that he didn’t want his money in the public system and is only trying to remove it into his control as quickly as possible?

  5. Ben says:

    Exactly the sort of ridiculous benefits that Republicans are constantly railing against state employees for getting. The hypocrisy, it keeps me warm at night.

    I suppose it really does always come down to “Screw you, I got mine”, doesn’t it?

  6. Ron Beasley says:

    This won’t make any difference – Perry was done in by his double digit IQ.

  7. Herb says:

    Ten grand says Rick Perry wouldn’t have such a sweet deal under a collective bargaining agreement…….

  8. Tsar Nicholas says:

    Wow, this post and the ensuing comments staggeringly are ignorant, even by Internet standards.

    Nearly all PERS in nearly all states work the same way as Texas’ system works vis-a-vis Perry. There’s nothing odd about it. By way of example, state assemblyman A locks in PERS benefits for that service and then takes salary in his next job as the state controller or the state attorney general. That’s neither surprising nor controversial. In fact, by taking the early retirement normally that saves public dollars, as the pension benefit stream in most instances correspondingly is reduced.

    Receiving two or more payment streams from two or more state government services is acceptable whether it’s a right to work PERS, or a union-only state, and regardless whether or not the pension plan was part of a CBA. Normal people would not have any issue with this. People don’t typically work for free, unless they have liberal arts degrees. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with receiving public pension benefits and active public wages too. Many people do so. Retired city cop becomes county deputy sheriff. Retired sheriff’s deputy becomes city councilman. Retired city counciman becomes mayor. Retired accounting professor at a public university becomes state auditor. It’s not hypocritical to get paid from two sources of pubic money when both of them have been earned. Duh.

    It’s not hypocritical for Rick Perry to receive public pension money and public wages and also to advocate for the elimination of collective bargaining for public sector employees. To suggest otherwise is preposterous. Publicly-elected officials have their wages and benefits set by statutes and regulations, not by contracts. There’s no union of governors and former agriculture commissioners. You can’t find the local chapter of the brotherhood of elected officials No. 240. I mean, come on, are commenters on the Internet that out to lunch? Geez.

    In sum, like Seinfeld, this here is a story about nothing.

  9. Ben says:

    Tsar Nich,

    No one said what he’s doing is illegal. Of course it’s legal. It’s also morally disgusting to me. Double-dipping is disgusting when cops do it, and it’s disgusting when Rick Perry does it. I didn’t say anything about unions. I don’t give a crap whether this is something that was bargained for by a union or written into the statutes by corrupt legislators to hook up themselves and their cronies. It’s wrong either way. It’s hypocrisy because Republicans have shown nothing but wretching disgust with the level of compensation being showered on state employees, and here’s one of their leaders gaming the system to get two paychecks.

  10. Franklin says:

    @Ron Beasley: It’s completely juvenile, but I think it’s pretty fair to do our Borat impression now:

    “He’s retarded? Oh, it’s so nice of the people of Texas to let the mentally handicapped serve as governor and feel like useful members of society.”

  11. OzarkHillbilly says:

    I really can not get all that worked up about this. First off because if I could do it too, I certainly would. Second of all, I suspect there is no one here who would not also take advantage.

    Lastly, he is a hypocrite? “BREAKING NEWS…. POLITICIAN IS A HYPOCRITE!”

    Get real guys, find me a politician who isn’t a hypocrite, and I will show you a person from the planet Zandoori. Hypocrisy is part and parcel of the human condition. We have all been hypocrites at some point in time. Politicians just make a career out of it.

  12. Jeremy says:

    @Tsar Nicholas: It’s just unethical, hypocritical, and the double-dipping puts even more strain on public finances. That’s the problem.