How much did Gene Locke make last year?

November 25, 2009 4:50:27 PM PST
Gene Locke is letting us in on his finances. Twelve days after his opponent released her tax returns, Locke released his Wednesday afternoon. It shows he gets a $28,000 paycheck every two weeks. The political issue may not be how much Locke made, but from whom. Tax returns show Locke took in nearly $800,000 last year from a law firm with numerous government contracts. His campaign released them Wednesday without comment.

Welcome to the news graveyard. We're happy you're watching, we really are. But late in the afternoon on the most traveled day of the year, hours before turkeys go in the oven is not exactly the time to release anything you want people to see, which is likely one reason why our email in-box lit up at 2:03pm Wednesday with the release of Locke's tax returns.

The Locke campaign says this really was the first chance it had to release documents showing he made $720,000 last year.

"It's very straight forward," said CPA Bob Martin, who looked over the return at our request.

He saw Locke was paid $820,000 by his law firm and gave $34,000 dollars to charity and had a few outside sources of income.

Locke took a $56,000 hurricane Ike-related loss on his beachfront home in Galveston last year. All of it is relatively standard, except for the bottom line, which is a lot more than the average Houstonian.

"It can shock some people to see how much money people make," said Martin.

"Doesn't make it wrong," we said

"Not at all," said Martin. "He may've earned it and deserve every penny of it."

Annise Parker, who released her tax returns weeks ago reported a combined $155,000 in income with her partner from a combination of salary, investments and royalty checks.

"It's like one of those unimportant factors in the equation that confuse you," said voter Tamar Perez.

Beyond interesting table talk on Thursday, it's a tossup how much it matters to voters. The person all this may matter to most is Locke himself, who will take a $600,000 a year pay cut if he's elected.

"You don't see a lot of savings," said Martin. "He will likely have to spend his retirement accounts to maintain his lifestyle."

Locke's $218,000 tax bill this year is $60,000 more than he'd make as mayor. He's promised to resign from that law firm if elected.

Locke and Parker are set to debate on Channel 13 Tuesday, December 1. The debate will be seen live on TV and online beginning at 8pm. You can email us your questions for the candidates here.


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