A recent op-ed penned by Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison in The Austin American-Statesman points to the reality of the political bluster of Governor Rick Perry that does not match the facts. Perry, running for re-election and Senator Hutchison, who will announce her official candidacy for the office in August, are in a tense primary battle for the Republican nomination. Perry recently made much of the fact that he didn't intend to bow to the wishes of the Obama administration as it relates to the spending/stimulus package passed as Obama took office.
Perry did the whole drama of pretending he would rather have Texas secede than be under the thumb of Washington, D.C. He said he would not take stimulus money from the federal government. The Controller for the State of Texas, Susan Combs, directly disputed that as nonsense. She has put the expenditures and receipts of the State of Texas online for all to see. She has the amount of money from the federal government, including stimulus monies, online and holding recipients accountable.
As Senator Hutchison pointed out, she voted against the stimulus spending this year. She has done her best to guarantee Texas receives its share of tax dollars. Otherwise, our tax money from Texas taxpayers goes to the residents of other states instead of being returned to Texas.
The fact is that Perry balanced the state budget by accepting 97 percent of federal stimulus money. Plus, Texas used a higher percentage - $12.1 billion - towards the state deficit. There is now a problem with the state's 2006 margins tax, according to Hutchison (a former Controller of the State of Texas and the one credited with keeping Texas state income tax free), and Perry has to now beg for a $643 million loan to keep Texas' unemployment fund solvent. Where will he have to go for that loan? Washington, D.C.
Instead of working to cut the strings attached to unemployment monies from the federal stimulus package offered to states, as Senator Hutchison would have done, Perry went dramatic and acted as though he was making a big, principled stand for states rights against the federal government. Makes for good re-election press. However, the drama was at the expense of Texas voters.
Maybe those supporting Perry on the grounds of sound fiscal leadership and strong states rights will re-think what he is really doing to the state. He is not the solid leader we need.