January 8, 2013
The Texas legislature is in session for 140 days every two years.
Representative and senators are paid $600 per month, plus $150 per day when the legislature is in session. That puts the average pay at $17,700 per year for a two year term. That’s under the poverty level for a three-person family, according to the U.S.Census Bureau, so Texas politics does not seem like a rewarding career.
Yet a lot of people put a big effort (and a lot of money) into getting elected. My own local representative, Hubert Vo, is a good example. He has won repeated re-election in competitive elections, and my mailbox can witness the support he gives to the postal service, but he needs some way of making a living. This he does by owning apartments, and renting them out. Some might call him a slumlord.
Of course, there is no conflict of interest in being Vice-Chair of the Economic and Small Business Development Legislative Committee. Which brings up another interesting feature of the Texas Legislature: Vo is in a leadership position in the committee, even though he is a Democrat and the Republicans have a 95-55 majority in the Texas House.
Texas is different.