C. E. Clark has been a student of how U.S. government works since she was just 13 years old,, and a political junkie for more than 35 years.
Governors and State Legislators Clean Up With Pensions and Other Benefits
Most people have probably heard the rumor that U.S. Congress members can retire after just one term and get their full salaries and benefits including a Cadillac health insurance benefit for the rest of their lives.
In a previous article, I debunked those ideas, but here is the real issue that voters should be upset about. It is not U.S. legislators or the president who are cleaning up on pensions and benefits after they leave office—although they still do far better than most average taxpayers. It is the state legislators and governors, in many states, who make out like bandits—maybe that was a bad comparison . . .
Every state manages its own finances and every state has a different pension plan and benefits program for its elected and appointed officials, and their hired employees. In this article, I will explain what the retirement benefits are for elected officials in five different states.
There simply is not space to list all the different plans every state has for their retired elected officials, and other employees, and every state is different. Some have big differences while others may have small differences compared to each other, but if you see what is happening in the five states I have chosen, it may give you an idea of things that may be happening in your own state (if yours is not one of the five reported on here) regarding pensions for retired state officials.
The five states I have chosen to highlight in this article regarding their retirement situation for their elected and appointed officials and their hired employees are Texas, Massachusetts, Wisconsin, Colorado, and California. I chose these five states because I have lived in every one of them at different times for at least a year or two, sometimes longer.
As it turns out, two of them are red states, two are blue states, and one is a swing state (purple). I don’t know if the political party in power in these particular states makes any difference in regard to their pensions and other retirement benefits programs for their state’s employees, since most of these plans are long term and most were put in place several years ago. It probably does not matter which party is in power in a state, but it is something to keep in the back of one’s mind.
One of the reasons so many government workers in some states are making out so well with their retirement is because they are double-dipping. So let me explain what ‘double-dipping’ means for any of my readers who may not be familiar with that phrase.
Someone who retires from their government job and then comes back to work for their own state or local government, or for a different state or local government, often in the same job they had before ‘retiring,’ or sometimes in a new capacity, and then gets paid both their retirement and a wage or salary from the government, is double-dipping. Whether elected, appointed, or hired, state workers who collect both a wage and a retirement benefit from the same state or two or more different states, are double-dipping. Some teachers, judges, legislators, and other types of state workers are doing this (double dipping) right now, and it is costing taxpayers dearly.
What these people are doing is barely legal, but extremely unethical. Gaming the system in this manner puts the retirement funds of all workers paying into it at risk because it is overburdened. It is violating pension laws and it is costing taxpayers, often unknowingly, millions of additional dollars every year over what it would cost to hire a non-retired employee. As you might imagine, proving that they never intended to retire from their jobs, but did so on paper for a few days essentially to give themselves a raise, is hard to prove.
Many of these people let their managers know when they tender their letter of resignation that they want to come back to work once the required 30-day separation period is over. Doing that is not considered a “good faith termination,” which is generally required by pension laws.
By letting their managers know they want to come back after the 30-day separation period, they are basically saying they do not really want to retire nor do they intend to retire. They are simply resigning as a formality to give themselves a raise. If their retirement is discovered to not be a ‘good faith termination,’ and therefore violates pension laws, there could be legal repercussions for them.
Some states are trying to pass laws to reduce or prevent double-dipping, but as you might imagine, getting legislators to vote for themselves to have a tougher time double dipping is not popular.
Eric Litke writing for the Stevens Point Journal.com, reports that a new Wisconsin law that took effect in July 2013 is attempting to reign in the abuses of double-dipping in that state. Now retirees must wait a minimum of 75 days (up from 30) before they can be rehired and then they can only work for a third of the usual hours (1392 hours max for the year) the particular job they take normally requires. The new law does not address double-dipping over state lines, however.
There is a lot of money involved in the practice of double-dipping and the following examples are only focusing on school administrators. If school administrators are cleaning up in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, what are legislators and judges getting?
Litke gives the examples of 2 school administrators who are receiving pensions from other states while receiving salaries in Wisconsin. Kathleen Williams of Wausau Wisconsin tops the list receiving $157.994 in a salary from Wausau and a pension from the state of Illinois in the amount of $183.043 totaling $341.037 a year.
Attila Weninger of Stevens Point Wisconsin receives a salary of $155,500 from the Stevens Point School District and a pension from Illinois in the amount of 180,302 totaling $335,802 a year.
These are examples of how double-dipping works and how it benefits those who are doing the double-dipping and how it costs taxpayers big bucks. Wisconsin is by no means the only state where this is happening. (See more on Wisconsin below.)
California State House
You Might Be Interested . . .
Eighty-two-year old Dianne Feinstein (Democrat) served 10 years as mayor of San Francisco, and 9 years as a San Francisco Supervisor before being elected to her current seat in the Senate in 1992.
Ms. Feinstein has received about 850,000 in retirement benefits over the past 20 years along with her Congressional salary (currently 174,000 per year, plus a yearly allowance for her office,) and other benefits. She is reportedly worth somewhere between 42.8 and 98.7 million dollars, (watchdog.org).
Pensions for California legislators are based on the number of years of service and their salary while serving. No legislator can collect more than 2/3 of his or her final salary.
There is also a death benefit paid to specified beneficiaries or survivors if a currently serving legislator or a retired former legislator dies.
For the governor and lieutenant governor, pension benefits are figured at 5% per year up to 8 years or 40% of their final salary. If they serve for 24 years or longer it is 60% of their final salary. The retirement age is 60. If a governor or lieutenant governor chooses to retire before age 60 their benefit is reduced by 2%.
Legislators and governors, etc., must have served at least 4 years and attained the age of 55 before they can retire. If the governor or lieutenant governor would choose to retire at any age prior to 55, they would be required to have served at least 20 years.
Healthcare benefits will be the same for legislators, and the governor and lieutenant governor and all other constitutional officers in keeping with The Affordable Care Act better known to some people as ObamaCare.
There is also disability coverage for all elected and appointed officials.
California Voters Believed They Ended Pensions for State Legislators in 1990, but Did They?
The Legislative Analyst’s Office states, ”Voters Ended State Pension Benefits for State Legislators. Proposition 140 (1990) prohibits accrual of state retirement benefits by Members of the Legislature first elected on or after November 7, 1990. The Legislators’ Retirement System (LRS)—managed by CalPERS—remains to administer benefits for (1) Members of the Legislature first elected prior to this date, (2) state elected officials (except judges) who elect to join LRS, and (3) four legislative statutory officer positions listed in Section 9350.55 of the Government Code. Judges are in two separate CalPERS-managed systems, the benefits for which were reduced for judges elected or appointed on or after November 9, 1994.”
The above statement seems clear to this writer that not everyone taking office in the California legislature or the California governor’s office, as well as some other positions, have been affected by the above law even though they took their office post November 7, 1990.
The Orange County Register says former governor “Brown [Jerry] and a handful of other top officials are eligible for generous benefits under a special pension fund so obscure that few people in government know how it works and many thought it had been eliminated 20 years ago by outraged voters.”
“Founded in 1947, LRS was established by the California State Legislature as a special pension system to serve . . . members of the California State Legislature. Later, it was expanded a little to include constitutional officers, like the governor and attorney general, as well as four unelected legislative statutory officers who hold special responsibilities at the State Capitol,” (The Orange County Register).
Many people believe Prop. 140 was the end of LRS. “But Prop. 140 didn’t kill LRS, it merely shrunk it. Today, LRS membership is open only to the state’s eight constitutional officers, the four members of the Board of Equalization, the four legislative statutory officers and lawmakers first elected to the Legislature prior to 1990, who are grandfathered in,” (The Orange County Register).
So apparently Prop. 140 did not end all pensions for California elected officials, including some members of the legislature. Please reference the URLs below — copy and paste them into your browser for more information on this issue.
Colorado State House
The most recent information I could find on the Colorado retirement plan for elected and appointed officials, and hired employees, is from 2006 and there have been some changes since then.
Retirees have had their benefits cut. Not just future retirees, but also current retirees have, and are experiencing, benefits cuts. Colorado is struggling to get their retirement plans solvent over the long run.
Employees of the state of Colorado, including elected officials, who were hired or took office after July 1, 2005, become vested after 5 years of service.
Employees and elected officials can retire at age 50 if they have provided 30 years of service. They can retire at age 60 with 20 years of service, or at 65 with 5 to 19 years of service.
Employees and elected officials who have provided 35 or more years of service can retire regardless of their age. There are other requirements for persons who desire to take early retirement.
Retired Colorado official’s monthly benefits are calculated by determining the highest average salary where contributions to the retirement plan were made for 3 periods of 12 consecutive months of service for each period. When that number is arrived at, it is halved and that is the benefit that retirees receive.
After 5 years of service, if a member of the Colorado Legislature should become permanently disabled, they may be eligible for benefits. If a member dies before retirement age is attained, their spouse or eligible children under age 23 may receive benefits.
Colorado state employees, including elected officials, contribute 8% of their salaries or wages to their retirement accounts. The state contributes 10.5%. In some cases where the retirement benefit is dependent on the job classification, the state may pay an additional 5%.
More Information on Colorado State Retirement Plans
Massachusetts State House
Massachusetts seems different than the other states I looked at, unless I missed something in the others. Massachusetts actually adds to pensions of legislators or other Massachusetts government officials when they perform voluntary administrative work. There is no paycheck for the work itself. It is a volunteer position, but there is a pension for people who do it. Jobs like sitting on the board of a hospital or library.
Both elected and appointed officials have added anywhere from 4,000 to 16,000 dollars a year for life to their pensions by adding their years of volunteer service into the years they served in the legislature. They need only to serve for a single day in a year to count that as one full year of service!
Currently, according to masslive.com, the state of Massachusetts pays out more than 1.2 Billion dollars in pensions even as some of the people collecting them are cutting programs for citizens. At least 106 retired employees are receiving $100,000 a year or more in pensions as of this writing.
There is no minimum age or minimum number of years of service a former legislator must serve in order to collect his or her pension. Several former legislators have started collecting their pensions sometime during their 40th decade.
Both Republicans and Democrats have, and continue to take advantage of the current pension laws in Massachusetts. The current governor, Democrat Deval L. Patrick (Democrat) is pushing for reforms, and he has reportedly signed at least 3 bills into law over the past 3 years that will save Massachusetts taxpayers millions of dollars. However, even though the retirement benefits reforms will save over the long run, there will likely be no major changes in the near future. Most major changes will not affect current retirees or current officeholders. It will be 20 to 30 years before the change is noticeable. In the meantime, Massachusetts, like most states, is struggling with the current economic situation.
Currently, the governor of Massachusetts is paid $135,000 a year and the lieutenant governor is paid $120,000 a year.
Nan East, writing on eHow reports: Massachusetts is one of only 10 states in the U.S. that has a full-time legislature. The base salary for all Massachusetts legislators is $61, 440 a year. Leadership positions pay more. For example, the Speaker of the Massachusetts House is paid an additional $35,000 a year over his or her regular base salary. There is also a $600 a month expense account per legislator as well as additional bonuses, tax breaks, and benefits for various reasons. Most Massachusetts legislators make at least 75,000 a year after everything available to them is added in.
In 1998 voters passed an amendment to the Massachusetts Constitution tying legislator’s pay to the average Massachusetts household income, which has enabled legislators, as well as the governor, lieutenant governor, and other state officials to receive raises automatically, without any politician’s involvement and without informing the public that raises were being given, on a regular basis. Massachusetts’ legislator’s pay is reviewed and reset every two years. For more details on this subject, check out the references posted at the end of this section.
For more information:
- The Enterprise
- MA House of Representatives average salaries
- State Budget Solutions
Texas State House
Something a lot of people, including a lot of Texans probably do not know is that the Texas Legislature only meets every other year. That is correct, once every two years. They meet on every odd numbered year on the second Tuesday of January.
The Texas Legislature meets once every two years in Austin, the Capitol of Texas, and each legislative session is limited by the Texas Constitution, to 140 days. The governor of Texas, and only the governor, can order a special session that extends beyond the 140 days, as he (Rick Perry since 2000) did recently in order to pass limitations on abortion.
The short sessions that take place every other year should be remembered when considering that state legislators have linked their pensions to the salaries of state district judges who work every year for a lot more than a 140 days in most cases. By linking their pensions to the state judge’s salaries, legislators receive a raise in their pension benefits every time judges receive a salary increase (Odessa American).
That is not all. Legislator’s pensions can equal as much as 100% of a state district judge’s salary. Republican Tom Craddick will receive $125,000 a year when he retires from the Texas State Senate—unless legislators decide to increase judge’s salaries even more before Craddick retires. In fairness, Craddick has held his office for 44 years. However, almost 60 legislators will receive more than 40,000 a year when they retire. The current salary for legislators in Texas is $7,200.00 a year (not every other year) plus other benefits. Keep in mind, the governor and legislators barely work for 140 days every other year.
Generally most people have to actually retire from their job before they can collect their pensions. Not so with many lawmakers all over this country—see double-dipping above.
The former governor of Texas, Rick Perry (Republican), received a salary of $150,000 a year, and on top of that, a pension of another $92,000. It is all perfectly legal, but perhaps one can see how it is the individual state laws, rather than the federal laws, that allow politicians to clean up.
Even as Governor Perry is receiving $242,000 in salary and retirement from the state of Texas, he is denying his constituents medical care that would be paid for by the federal government.
For more information:
- Wikipedia.Org on the Texas Legislature
- Odessa American of Odessa TX: Texas State Legislator’s Shady Pay Raise
- TX Gov Perry’s situation
- Washington Post on Rick Perry
Wisconsin State House
You Might Be Interested . . .
Jim Sensenbrenner, a 77-year-old member of the U.S. House of Representatives, has received nearly $100,000 in pension benefits since 2008 in addition to his salary ($174,000 plus perks) as a representative from Wisconsin’s 5th District. His Wisconsin pension is estimated to be around $30,000 in addition to his salary for serving in the U.S. House. Sensenbrenner’s estimated wealth is between 13.4–18.98 million dollars.
The Wisconsin Department of Employee Trust Funds has provided the following information regarding pensions and benefits paid to Wisconsin state workers.
For a state employee to receive retirement benefits they must first of all be vested, meaning (in the case of Wisconsin state employees) that they have worked as a permanent Wisconsin state employee for at least 8 years.
Previously only 5 years of service were required to be vested and so some elected officials who came in before the change that now requires 8 years of service, will be able to receive pensions with less service if that is applicable to their situation. Some are already collecting retirement benefits from the state of Wisconsin while also collecting salaries as members of the U.S. Congress
Another requirement of Wisconsin state government retirees is that she or he must be at least 55 years old. There are a few state workers who are allowed to collect benefits at age 50 and that is because of the category of work they have done, however, most employees must be at least 55.
The usual retirement age for elected employees is 62.
For more information:
- Wisconsin State Journal
- Calculating Your WI Benefits
- Story about Tom Petri and 3 others double-dipping
- Three more WI Congressmen Double Dipping
This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.
Questions & Answers
Question: How much will Scott Walker get in retirement benefits after leaving the State House?
Answer: As stated in my article on retirement benefits for state employees in Wisconsin under "more information," I think you will find the first reference beneficial to the information you seek on Governor Walker. Retirement varies according to the individual depending on their years of service, etc., and you would need to know that information about Walker in order to determine his retirement benefit. Here is the reference again (copy and paste it into your browser): http://host.madison.com/news/local/ask/footnote/fo... If you are unable to copy the entire URL posted in this answer, refer to the first reference as described in the text above in the section under Wisconsin.
Question: What kind of benefits does a NJ senator receive in retirement?
Answer: Generally, all senators retirement benefits (as well as other benefits) are the same and not based on the state they represent. The Federal Government employs U.S. Congressman (both Senate and the House members) even though the NJ voters elect them. I believe I mentioned how retirement benefits for U.S. Senator's retirement are determined in this article. It is the same for all of them regardless of what state they represent.
© 2014 C E Clark
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on June 13, 2020:
Ira Schafer, thank you for your interesting comment! Agree it is a curiosity as to how he (or anyone) could possibly work 5 full time jobs at the same time.
As I said in the beginning of this article, due to available space, I was concentrating on the 5 states where I had actually lived. But I very much appreciate your sharing about this man in Illinois. Lots of people like to read the comments too, and I'm sure they will find yours very interesting, especially if they live in Illinois.
Ira Schafer on June 08, 2020:
If you really wanted to pick a great state for double dipping, try Illinois. In one case the Chicago Tribune uncovered a few years ago, a suburban Chicago mayor who was "working" "full time" at four separate state jobs beside his being mayor. When the Tribune asked him how he could have worked 5 full time jobs simultaneously for the several decades he claimed he had, the man told the Trib it was none of their business. The man immediately retired. He now collects 5 pensions legally as if he had actually worked all those jobs simultaneously.
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on May 29, 2019:
Cristne Ragalnd 2, thank you for reading and taking an interest in the double dipping issue.
Teachers do not pay the interest that accrues, nor even all the money that is invested on their behalf in retirement vehicles. Government employers also contribute just as private employers contribute to an employees retirement fund.
Some people who double dip are actually breaking pension laws. To my knowledge a person could not do this with a privately owned company -- collect their pension and go back to work and collect a salary/wage at the same time. It is only possible to game the government retirement system by receiving retirement when one hasn't truly retired, but continues to work for the same entity with a full salary in addition to their retirement benefit.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this issue.
Cristne Ragalnd 2 on May 24, 2019:
You asked where you talked about Texas teachers - while not specific to Texas teachers, you claimed the following under "Double Dipping": "This applies to all state workers whether elected, appointed, or hired. Some teachers, judges, legislators, and other types of state workers are all doing this (double dipping) right now, and it is costing taxpayers dearly." from the second paragraph under "Double Dipping" - perhaps you could see how one might think you implied Texas teachers were double dipping. I am not in favor of politicians gaming the pension system, but I believe Ms. Ragalnd's point is that Texas teachers pay into the retirement system and have to actually work the years used to calculate their pension. However, while most of what Ms. Ragalnd states is accurate, there is one thing that is in error. That is that the teachers pay for all of the funds in the system. The school district also must contribute to the retirement system for teachers, so it is not "self-funded" only by teachers payments.
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on September 29, 2017:
Stephen Douglas, I have added information on the subject you raised regarding the fading out of pensions for legislators in CA. I found that some pensions continue, and will continue to continue indefinitely, and they are quite generous, but not talked about much -- presumably to avoid upsetting people who imagined they had ended them.
Thank you for raising this issue so that I could look into it and bring it to the attention of my readers.
Stephen Douglas on September 27, 2017:
Legislative pensions are being phased out. Since 1990, there is no pension for CA legislators. Those who accrued time before 1990 will still receive benefits for that prior service.
CALIFORNIA CONSTITUTION ARTICLE 4 LEGISLATIVE SEC. 4.5.
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on July 05, 2017:
Cristine Ragalnd, thank you for commenting! But did you read the material you are commenting on? No where in my introductory paragraphs, which are what I'm guessing you are referring to as "the chute," do I mention Texas teachers. The only thing I did say about Texas is that it is one of the states included here that I will spotlight regarding state pensions and benefits.
Looking at the section on Texas, I do not see any mention of Texas teachers either. Perhaps my eyesight is worse than I realize. Maybe you could point specifically to where I wrote about Texas teachers and their pensions?
I was generalizing in the introductory part of this article and I made the point that these 5 states (and all of the states in the U.S.) vary to some degree in how they set up their retirement funds and what their qualifications are to collect, etc. I even advised people to check on their own state to see what the regulations are there since there are differences from state to state both great and small.
If you read carefully, I am not implying that the examples of double dipping that I provided relate to every state included in this article. I merely defined double dipping and gave examples of it, none of which included a Texas teacher.
I think the reason you believe my writing is not fully informed is that your reading comprehension leaves a little to be desired. You have added a lot of words to this article (in your own mind) that I can't see, because as I have already stated, there is nothing anywhere in this entire article that speaks about Texas teachers, yet you accuse me of writing all these things about them.
I think you are making a lot of assumptions. I learned at a Texas university that assumptions are usually wrong, so people really shouldn't make them. Your comment is why people should always read things they comment on before they comment -- to avoid looking foolish on an international venue.
Nowhere do I say that every state is exactly the same, and indeed I say the exact opposite.
All retirement funds are self-funded. Social Security is deducted from an employees paycheck. Private retirement accounts, whether TRS, or 401k's, or something else, are also deducted from an employee's paycheck. Did you not know that?
Cristine Ragalnd on June 22, 2017:
First off, it is not feasible for you to lump Texas teachers in a category as double dippers right out of the chute in your article. Every dime paid into Texas Teacher retirement is paid by the individual. Second Texas, with the exception of (I am sure) not more than 3 districts who chose to pay differently, do not pay in to Social Security. The retirement check a retired teacher receives is based on their contribution plus interest earned. Earned interest that comes from good investment practices. The average Texas teacher receives about $2,000. per month. A retired employee--teacher, clerk, groundskeeper, etc. may not return to work at a district for over one calendar year and their are conditions tied to the return. Consider this, someone spent 30 years becoming a dyslexia expert, can work 20 hours a week, because their passion is to help struggling readers, and they do this very well. This same indivi has 30 years of experience and expertise, does not need or receive insurance benefit options and is strictly being compensated for their time, why wouldn't the district hire them. The same district spent 30 years keeping them highly qualified. Your writing is not fully informed. Spend two months from August to the end of September with a teacher and see how hard they work for their "pension." Their self funded retirement is based on the fact that they actually worked all those years!
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on June 20, 2017:
Shyron, thank you for sharing your thoughts and for your high praise. It means a lot coming from you because I know how you keep up with what's going on in our government, and because you are so very good at something I consider very difficult -- poetry.
Blessings to you also dear friend, take care . . .
Shyron E Shenko from Texas on May 12, 2017:
Hello Au fait, I am with Writer Fox (hope there is no kinship with Faux news) in that I picked the wrong profession. 'But,' I do have an aversion to rolling in the mud.
This is an information packed article, wonderfully done.
Blessings dear friend, hope all is well with you.
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on March 06, 2017:
Steve Becker, thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts on this issue. Yes, what you say may sound fowl, but I fear it is true, and that's worse. Too may people these days are more offended by words than by what is actually happening in our government.
I really think a lot of these things are distractions to keep gullible people preoccupied while the real action is going on in the background. The president we have now makes all the previous ones look like angels. Wait until it all comes out. Double dippers will seem tame in comparison.
Many of the jobs Trump promised to bring back can't be brought back. But gullible people latched onto the lie. Most of the jobs have gone away due to technology and automation, not because they were sent to India/China. Some have gone because the times have changed. We didn't send all of our horses to India and China, we invented the automobile. Now we're getting less dependent on fossil fuels (bye-bye coal) and using solar and wind energy more and more. Here where I live, we get 40% of our energy for this city from wind and our city counsel has recently voted to up that 40% to 70%.
Some of the trouble is that people are uninformed and prefer to be that way. I can't tell you how many people I know personally who have said they don't keep up with what's going on and they don't know things and don't want to know. There is a group of videos on YouTube that I recommend you watch. They're under the heading, "Americans are Stupid and Proud of It." Put that in the YouTube search box and you will have hours of entertainment.
The questions asked on the videos mentioned above aren't necessarily of extreme importance, but they speak to a deeper problem. People are more and more dependent on others than themselves. Ignorant people are sitting ducks for politicians and corporations to take advantage of them. They think they know what's happening by listening to Fox News constantly, but that is not where to find the truth. That is where to get brain washed and ripe for plucking. Trump stated loudly at one of his rallies before the election that he 'loved uneducated people.'
With information available at everyone's fingertips, ignorance today is a choice. If you don't own a computer you can use one at your local library. There is no reason not to be informed, and the best way to do that is to listen to and read many different views on the same subject, not just Fox New's views.
After you've read half a dozen accounts of the same thing from both conservative and liberal sources you may be prepared to determine part of the truth, as it's going to be slanted from every source according to their agenda. The truth is usually somewhere in the middle and no one source will give it to you straight and make it easy to figure out. One must know how our government is supposed to work and one must know who all the players are before one can begin to sort it all out. No one news source will give you this information and it will require real effort to get to the bottom of things, especially in the beginning when you're learning your way around.
Anyway, so many Americans are ignorant and pleased with being in that state that it will take an enormous effort to turn things around. I won't say it's impossible, but it will take a lot of hard work and determination. Most people would rather sit back and follow Fox New's orders. When they finally figure out they've been had, it will be too late.
Thank you again for sharing your thoughts and frustrations. There are more of us who share them than you realize, if that's any consolation.
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on February 27, 2017:
NGregg N, thank you for stopping by. You either didn't read or didn't understand what you read regarding retirement for our government. No one gets a big retirement for working only a short time. In fact, they'll be lucky to get one at all.
Double dipping does hurt the government, and in some states it is against the law. The reason it hurts the government is because if a school teacher, for example, retires and then takes a job in the same or a different school district, that teacher will be paid according to his/her experience and seniority. Someone else might very well be fresh out of university or have fewer years of experience, and so their pay would be less.
More years of experience and more seniority doesn't always mean a better teacher. Or a better cop, or whatever. They often take their bad habits, cultivated for eons, along to the new job. Give someone with a fresh outlook a chance and save some tax dollars.
I really think the double dipping is a bigger problem than the pensions. The pensions are based in every case on how long a person has been employed and at what rate of pay. A 2-year stint in the House of Reps or a state assembly doesn't begin to compare to 10, 20, or more years of service. You're SS is likely to be more if you're time was short or your salary low, or both.
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on February 17, 2017:
Joan Crawford, thank you for stopping by. While some people are taking unfair advantage of our tax dollars, there is no danger at this time of our country going broke. That is a scare tactic used by certain politicians who hope to convince you to be anxious enough to vote for them.
NGreg N on January 19, 2017:
The amount of retirement that some government employs receive for short terms is ridicules. As for the double dipping I don't see where it makes much difference if the employee takes another government job or some other job and them someone else takes that government job. The money to the tax payers is the same.
Joan Crawford on January 13, 2017:
no wonder our country is going broke!
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on July 19, 2016:
Paul Kuehn, thank you for reading/commenting, and sharing this article. While federal employees, especially the upper level ones, do far better than the average citizen, I really think state employees fleece taxpayers thee worst. Thank you for your validation.
Paul Richard Kuehn from Udorn City, Thailand on July 17, 2016:
Thank you very much Au fait for sharing a very interesting and revealing hub. As a retired federal employee I am very aware of double dipping which many of my former colleagues are now doing. After they retire, they are hired by contractors which the government has and basically do the same kind of work they did before retirement. These retirees are not allowed to work full time for the contractors. The government justifies this double dipping by pointing out the retirees have experience which the government needs and can't get enough of from younger employees. I am sharing this hub with HP followers and on Facebook.
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on February 08, 2016:
Thank you Colorfulone, for commenting and for your good wishes. I hope this will be a great year for you too. Glad you found this article informative!
Susie Lehto from Minnesota on February 05, 2016:
This is informative. Oh, those double dippers! I had read some about this practice before, now I understand it well. Thank you, Au fait.
Best wishes in 2016...its an interesting one so far.
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on April 25, 2015:
Besarien, thank you for reading and commenting on this article. People really do need to know what their elected officials and administrators are doing with their money. I like your idea of tying salaries to how well the state is doing!
Besarien from South Florida on April 22, 2015:
The pay of a governor, etc. should be linked to how well the state is doing. Making this kind of money when the state is hurting is sinful. This is an important topic of which more people need to be made aware. Voted up!
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on January 24, 2015:
Shyron, thank you for sharing this article! All is as good as is possible for now. Blessings and hugs right back to you.
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on January 23, 2015:
Case1Worker, thank you for reading and commenting on this article! Appreciate your candor. The cleaning people must of course contribute to these huge sums of money whether or not they can afford to.
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on January 22, 2015:
Pstraubie48, thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts on this important subject. It isn't only elected officials who are cleaning up with the double dipping. In some places, even school teachers are doing it. Not all school teachers are equal. Yes, everyone needs to look into what is happening at the state level in their state.
Thank you for the votes, tweet, G+ing, and the share.
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on January 21, 2015:
Peggy W, thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts on this important subject. Often rules for changing these things once they're in place are very complicated and take a long time to change. Of course the beneficiaries of these things are the people who put those rules in place . . .
Shyron E Shenko from Texas on January 20, 2015:
This needs to be shared again, and again, so I am here to do that.
I hope all is well with you.
Blessings and hugs.
CASE1WORKER from UNITED KINGDOM on January 19, 2015:
Gosh I was unaware of the huge sums- especially the double dipping- I wonder what benefits the office cleaner gets on retirement- I guess it is nothing like this
Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on January 18, 2015:
It is so sad, I think is the best word I can think of, that folks who may or may not serve their state well can walk away with a huge package in the end.
It kills me when I look at Florida and see how top heavy the government offices are in Tallahassee and see how little they want to pay teachers. (Scott has just come up with a suggestion that all beginning teachers be paid fifty thousand to begin their career; I am not sure what his motive is in doing so. I am not a fan of his but that is another story.)
Thank you Aufait for being our Watchperson (did not want to call you a watch dog) ...everyone needs to know and be aware.
Voted up ++++ shared g+ tweeted
Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on January 18, 2015:
With newly elected congressmen getting back to work, voters need to contact them to have these laws changed! Sharing this again and hoping things like this can be ended for good...but not holding my breath!
Demas W Jasper from Today's America and The World Beyond on December 10, 2014:
You might expect this from people who vote their own salaries, benefits, and limitations. I am glad that my congressman Jason Chaffetz uses email instead of USPS mail and fanking privileges. He will head the House Oversight Committee in the next session of Congress.
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on October 25, 2014:
DeborahDian, thank you for reading and commenting on this article! You are correct in that some states have more reasonable retirement programs for their employees and elected officials than others.
People need to focus a little more on their state retirement programs that tax payers are footing the bill for so that they know if their elected officials and public servants are being treated fairly, or if those civil servants are abusing tax payers, or somewhere in between.
Deborah Carr from Orange County, California on October 23, 2014:
The retirement benefits for legislators in California, where I live, don't sound too bad. In other places, it seems outrageous. Thanks for this informative article!
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on July 16, 2014:
Peggy W, thank you for the tweet and the share! It would be nice if people actually knew about and understood the issues swirling around the elections, but sadly, for most it's a beauty contest.
Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on July 13, 2014:
I am going to give this a tweet and another share. Perhaps people will give this some thought when they go to vote in the mid-term elections. We can hope, can't we!
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on July 05, 2014:
Lyns, thank you for coming by and for the vote!
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on July 03, 2014:
MG Singh, thank you for stopping in. Legislators taking advantage of their constituents is not a natural outcome of democracy and it need not be tolerated by them. Capitalism is a problem to be sure, but most people have no true understanding of it.
The problem is that many people are uninformed and apathetic and they like being that way and resent anyone trying to change their minds about being that way. They prefer to be taken advantage of over having to actually think and participate.
I have had people tell me directly that they do not want to have to think and since they are usually superior at not thinking, I have no problem with their not thinking, but I do believe people who don't want to have to think should not be allowed to vote either. I don't think people who are uninformed and too lazy to think should have a vote that affects my life.
It is the people here who are the government, and many of the people shirk their responsibility by first of all being uninformed. If people were informed and involved they would not allow legislators to take advantage of them. As it stands, most people aren't even aware that they are being duped.
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on July 01, 2014:
Thank you for stopping by Shyron. Hope your day is going well. Blessings.
lyns from USA on June 30, 2014:
Wow, learned a great deal and shocking but so true thanks for sharing this hub and information. Voted up +
MG Singh from UAE on June 30, 2014:
This happens in a capitalist structure under democracy. One can't get away from it, unless there is a revolution. Nice hub
Shyron E Shenko from Texas on June 29, 2014:
Au fait, just in case you do mind I put my response in a separate comment box.
To: Jaye Wisdom the Greed Old P***** by hook and by crook got control of this state and they have made enough money to buy the State Supreme Court Justices and U.S. Supreme Court Justices.
Keep on Ranting, I am happy you are on the right "i.e. Correct" side of politics.
To: Writer Fox money wise you may have chosen the wrong profession. But morally you must have done the right thing and chose the right profession.
To: Peggy W. you are right it is not fair for the Greed Old P***** to pick on the meteorologists for disagreeing with them.
Thumb -up UAI and shared.
Blessings and thank you again for writing this
Shyron E Shenko from Texas on June 29, 2014:
Au fait, I came back to re-read this and then I read some more of our fellow hubber's comments. I hope you don't mind if I respond to a few.
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on June 05, 2014:
Thank you again Peggy W for your continuing interest in this article. Yes, double dipping is hurting state budgets. MA is trying to get their double dipping under control and as you say, the laws recently passed there will not take effect for many years, so politicians currently taking advantage of one or more retirement benefits while getting a full salary won't be affected.
Currently people are retiring in order to give themselves a sizable raise, not because they intend to retire. If they can't make it on 80-100,000 a year without having to work, maybe they need some budget planning advice and instruction on managing money . . .
Thanks again for coming back and for the votes, pin, share, etc.
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on May 31, 2014:
Peggy W, thank you for your excellent insights. Now you see why some people not only work so hard to win elections, but why they are willing to spend so much money, sometimes even oodles of their own personal money, to win an election. Power AND tons of money . . .
Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on May 30, 2014:
Not fair to pick on the meteoroligists Au fait! Ha! I did like your comparison however. Since so many states run deficits, I would think that sooner or later some of these rules would be changed. Of course the politicians in power do not want to make any changes affecting their own feathered nests...and so it goes!
I can actually understand retiring from one job after 20 or 30 years and drawing a pension and then getting another job. Many of our military personnel do that. However, "retiring" for only a month or two and being rehired and then drawing ANOTHER pension in time for doing the exact same job is just plain wrong and should be stopped.
No wonder our politicians spend so much money to get elected to an office! You should link this to your other related hubs.
Up votes, sharing and pinning. Not sure what happened to my other comment?
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on May 30, 2014:
Shyron, thank you for reading and commenting on this article. We do need to let our elected officials know we don't appreciate their abuse of taxpayers. Blessings to you also . .
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on May 27, 2014:
Writer Fox, thank you for reading and commenting on this article. Agree that most politicians look out for themselves, not the rest of us.
I've always said the most lucrative careers are as a politician or a meteorologist. Both get to be wrong most or all of the time and still get paid handsomely with little or no fear of termination.
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on May 25, 2014:
JayeWisdom, thank you for reading this article and sharing your thoughts on this subject. You are welcome to 'rant' on my articles whenever you like. You always make sense when you do. Thank you too, for the votes.
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on May 23, 2014:
Billybuc, thank you for sharing your thoughts on this important subject. While some states are in the process of at least attempting to make changes in the double dipping and other issues relating to retirement of elected and appointed officials, those changes, if they ever come to fruition, will be many, many years from now so as not to affect the people currently in office.
Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on May 22, 2014:
Most people who work in private industry or even the military cannot get retirement benefits without having to work more years than our elected congressmen on average. If they had to abide by the same rules as most of the rest of us, they might work harder for our interests. It is no wonder they fight so hard to get elected! What a deal they have! Not good! Pinning and sharing.
Shyron E Shenko from Texas on May 22, 2014:
Au fait, I am with word55 on this one. This is fantastic research and reporting, I was aware that this went on even at town levels, it is going on. And just like Bill (billybuc) it makes me angry, that I am powerless to do anything about this except to vote against the people who are doing wrong and that is what I will do.
Blessings to you my dear friend.
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on May 21, 2014:
Word55, thank you for your kind yet insightful comment. Someone defended these double dippers recently asking if I would prefer they work for Wal-Mart and the answer is yes. Even though taxpayers subsidize Wal-Mart's payroll with food stamps and medicaid among other things, it's still costing taxpayers less than double or triple digit retirement on top of a full salary, and some of these people are working full time after retiring from the very same jobs. Not acceptable. Take care . .
Writer Fox from the wadi near the little river on May 21, 2014:
Boy did I pick the wrong line of work! It's amazing that these are the retirement figures. With so many US retirees subsisting solely on low Social Security payments, it's really shocking that the people who are supposed to represent the citizens have done a much better job of feathering their own nests instead.
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on May 19, 2014:
Diogenes, good to see you again. Note you are your usual self for the most part. Yes, politicians seem to have certain things in common no matter where they are. Thank you for stopping by.
Jaye Denman from Deep South, USA on May 19, 2014:
Au fait - This is a well-researched hub, the findings of which make me want to throw up! (Not your fault.)
I live in a state that's been 'governed' by a string of worthless governors, lt. governors and, for the most part, senators and represenatives--only one of whom is 'worth is salt' and only one good governor since I returned here in 1996. I use the term 'governed' sarcastically, since these politicians' actions keep Mississippi the poorest in the union with the majority of its citizens suffering needlessly, especially since the current governor opposed enhancement of Mediaid benefits in response to the healthcare act.
The fact that these harmful politicians reap any rewards whatsoever after leaving office truly makes me nauseated. This state's previous governor was a former insurance industry lobbyist who claimed he divested his interests in that firm, but I feel certain he just covered it up, so he was raking in $$$ from numerous avenues while faking a strong southern accent and 'aw shucks, good ol' boy' behavior in public after many years in D.C.
As for Texas, I lived there when Ann Richards was elected governor. She had an unholy mess to clean up after Clements, and, of course, the good ol' boys' club took over the state again when Papa Bush and his wealthy cohorts bought the governorship for W, who went on to become an infamous president with an election that was actually stolen for him.
Sorry about the rant, but I couldn't rein myself in!
Excellent hub. Rated Up++
Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on May 19, 2014:
Many years ago I found this shocking. Today, not so much shocking as pissed. I am so fed up with politicians and their money-grabbing ways that I just see red when I think of them...and this article didn't help my vision at all. :) I'll be seeing red all day now.
Al Wordlaw from Chicago on May 19, 2014:
Thank you Au fait, for exposing these greedy people. They don't seem to leave "well enough alone." They shall reap what they sow. God sees all evil. Vengeance is His. Have a blessed day, dear heart.
diogenes on May 19, 2014:
Hi: Another of your excellent articles. Same crap going on here.
Boasting of your honors is infra dig.