Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Gotcha!

The Texas Legislature passed legislation giving one extra annuity payment to persons who retired from the state before 12/31/08. Or did they? Maybe. Sort of. Yes and no.

They wrote the bills in such a way that the payment would be found unconstitutional. Then the Chairs of the Senate Finance and House Appropriations Committees then asked the Attorney General (AG) for an opinion on whether the payment is constitutional.

The AG opinion's opening paragraph states "Essentially you ask whether the Legislature is authorized to make a one-time payment to certain retirees. As discussed below, while the short answer to this question is "yes," the Legislature may do so only in a legally authorized manner. Moreover, the Legislature established an unusual and virtually insurmountable legal standard for making the proposed payment by requiring that this office issue a "conclusive opinion that such one-time payments are constitutionally and statutorily permissible."

Let's be sure we vote the responsible bone-heads out of office. Hopefully we can figure out who is responsible. At least Sen. Ogden, Chair of the Senate Finance Committee, and Rep. Pitts, Chair of the House Appropriations Committee, probably knew the payments would never be made. But who put in the "unusual and virtually insurmountable legal standard?"

I'm going for a 5-mile walk now.

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